Still no official announcement from Newcastle United about new signing Victor Fernandez but that didn’t stop Rafa giving the new boy his first start on Monday night.
A desperate night weather-wise was the perfect introduction to English football away to West Brom’s second string.
After receiving international clearance following his move being confirmed by Spanish club UE Cornella (see below) at the weekend, Victor Fernandez made his debut against an experienced West Brom reserve outfit which featured six players with first team experience.
Welsh internationals Boaz Myhill and Hal Robson-Kanu were amongst those selected, as well as Everton loan defender Brendan Galloway, who Newcastle had been hotly tipped to bring in last summer.
Newcastle themselves had half a dozen players with first team outings behind them and the likes of Findlay, El-Mhanni and especially Barlaser looked to have benefited from their recent elevation to the first team in the FA Cup matches.
Curtis Good and Jamie Sterry were also selected but it was returning loan player Haris Vuckic who grabbed a last gasp winner, scoring in the third minute of injury time to win it for Newcastle.
As for 18 year old Victor Fernandez, interesting that he was thrown straight into action after arriving from the third tier Spanish club. Suggesting maybe he is seen as further ahead in his progression than other young players (see below) that Rafa Benitez has brought in this season to beef up his younger age groups.
Fernandez impressed with his pace and ability when running at the opposition and just before his substitution on 56 minutes, the Spaniard flashing a shot just wide from outside the box.
West Brom Under 23s 0 Newcastle United Under 23s 1
Newcastle: Harker, Sterry, Good, Findlay, Williams (Bailey 82), Hunter, Barlaser, Ward, El-Mhanni, Fernandez (Holmes 56), Vuckic.
(At the weekend UE Cornella released a statement confirming the move of Victor Fernandez and also published a photo of him signing on at St James Park (see below).
The 18 year old attacker is the latest in a growing line of players from overseas that Rafa Benitez is recruiting to improve the quality at Newcastle United moving forward.
Newcastle fans have already seen Otto Huuhtanen (Finland), Mo Sangare (Liberia), Elias Sorensen (Denmark) and Juanito (Spain) join Newcastle’s Under 23s/Academy this season, with Tyrique Bartlett (son of former South African international Shaun Bartlett, who was at Charlton for six years) also added a month ago.
UE Cornella Official Statement:
‘Víctor Fernandez has joined Newcastle United after three seasons in our home base.
UE Cornella has reached an agreement with Newcastle United so that Víctor Fernandez joins the English club immediately.
Victor came to our football base 3 years ago from Sant Cugat Esport to recruit in Youth C of Gonzalo Riutort.
In his first year ended the season with the Juvenil Liga Nacional and during his second season in our entity he made the jump to Juvenile A.
Also, during the last campaign, the attacker of Sant Cugat was one of the habitual players in the calls of the Catalan selection sub-18.
After three years of learning and growth, Víctor Fernández is heading for Newcastle United – one of England’s most experienced teams – and UE Cornella wants to wish him luck in his new professional life.’
— UE CORNELLA (@ue_cornella) February 3, 2017