At the turn of the year, tensions in the Benitez-Ashley relationship, a poor run of form and no new recruits were the topic of conversation for toon fans. It was then that one piece of business quietly slipped under the radar. 19-year old winger Victor Fernandez was signed from Spanish third tier side UE Corella and became the newest addition to Peter Beardsley’s under-23 side.
Having been a surprise inclusion in Benitez’s squad for the week long training camp in Ireland, it remains to be seen whether the youngster will be handed his debut over the course of this pre season.
The Barcelona-born winger started his career in his native city representing various club sides as well as a Catalan regional team. He made the move to UE Cornella 3 years ago and over his 3 years there, progressed up the age groups, playing for the Juvenile A side in his final season.
Adapting to a new country and a new style of football mid-season is no easy feat, but the Spaniard seemed to find his feet relatively quickly on Tyneside. At the backend of the season he made 8 appearances for the Under 23’s notching up 2 goals and 2 assists. He looks to have carried that form into pre-season; finishing well from range as well as providing one for El-Mhanni in his first game, as the under 23’s eased past a Gateshead XI 3-0.
— Caspar de Wesselow (@c_dewesselow) July 23, 2017
The Spanish contingent of Ayoze Perez, Jesus Gamez and more recently Javier Manquillo will help Fernandez as he looks to establish himself in the first team setup. His already impressive grasp of English should stand him in good stead, as he looks to emulate the instant success of his fellow countryman Ayoze Perez.
With fellow flyer Yasin Ben El-Mhanni on the right side and Fernandez on the opposite flank, it looks as though Peter Beardsley’s young side is starting to come together. Fernandez will be one of a fair few looking to force their way into the first team picture; something which only Findlay, Barlaser and El-Mhanni managed last season.
In an interview with NUFC TV, Fernandez said: “I am a left winger, I’m 19 and I like to dribble and pass. I play quickly like Spanish football. When I was growing up I watched Premier League football so when Newcastle called me I wanted to go.”
It may be too early to be tipping this man for great things, but he’s certainly one to keep an eye on.