Victor Fernandez reveals his next steps at Newcastle after proudly making his debut
Victor Fernandez says he was 'honoured' to make his Newcastle United debut.
The winger came off the bench in Sunday’s 1-1 draw Royal Antwerp in Spain.
Fernandez, signed from UE Cornella Youth last year, impressed in the final period of the friendly.
Now the 19-year-old – who was called up from the club’s Under-23 squad along with goalkeeper Nathan Harker – is determined to force his way into Rafa Benitez’s first-team squad.
“Of course, I want to play for the first team,” said Fernandez, who combined well with DeAndre Yedlin on the right side at the Pinatar Arena.
“Any opportunity I can, I want to train and play with the first team.
“Always, when I’m called across to train with the first team, it’s a pleasure for me to be with them and get experience. I want to learn the game they play, which is different and a step up.”
Manager Benitez called on Fernandez and Harker for the club’s four-day visit to Spain after speaking with Under-23s coach Ben Dawson.
“Of course, this means that I’m doing things well,” said pacy Fernandez. “Hopefully, I get more chances to impress him going forward.
“It is an honour to play for him and for this team, and I want to experience it again.”
Fernandez was told after a training session last week that he had been selected for the training camp.
“Early last week on Wednesday I went to train with the first team, and when we ended the session the manager took me to one side and said ‘prepare your things, you’re travelling with us to Spain tomorrow’,” said Fernandez.
United’s players trained for three days ahead of the friendly, which was played over three 45-minute periods at the Pinatar Arena in Murcia.
“In training, you can feel that all the players are at another level,” said Fernandez. “It’s a different intensity with much more speed, and it’s great to be learning from them.
“When I came on it was nice to get a feel for this type of game. It gives me confidence in myself.
“These players are very good, so it’s easier for me to play with them because they make things easier for you.
“It’s very good, a great learning exercise, and I’m very happy.”
Fernandez and Harker played the final 45 minutes.
Antwerp levelled seconds into the period through Alexander Corryn, but Newcastle pushed hard for a winner and Dwight Gayle had a penalty saved after Ayoze Perez was brought down in the box.
“Of course, this was a great experience for me to be here with the first team and trying to learn off them and get some minutes,” said Fernandez.
Newcastle’s Under-23s have three opportunities to win a trophy between now and the end of the season.
And Fernandez said: “We are in the International Cup against Porto, in the Premier League Cup my team-mates won against Bournemouth and we also have the Northumberland Cup.
“Hopefully, we can win at least one of those competitions going forward.”
Benitez, keen to see more young players make the step up from the club’s Academy, felt the experience was “positive” for Fernandez and goalkeeper Harker.
“I think they were fine,” said Benitez. “Nathan was unlucky, because the first shot was a goal. It was quite difficult, bottom corner.
“After, he was fine (with his) distribution and good positions. I think it was a great experience for him.
“We were attacking (Fernandez’s) side and he was involved all the time. It was positive also for him.”
Harker told of his “pride” on Twitter after making his first-team debut.
The 19-year-old tweeted: “Very proud moment for me to make my first team debut, topped off a great camp out in Spain which I will take a lot from! Onwards and upwards!”