Federico Fernandez is relishing the challenge of testing himself against the best the Premier League has to offer.
Newcastle United suffered an opening day defeat to Tottenham Hotspur and the fixture list doesn’t get any easier with Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal to come in the next few weeks.
Fernandez, a £6million deadline day signing from Swansea City, is excited by the big games and the prospect of taking on some of the best forwards in world football.
Having missed the Spurs game, Fernandez comes into contention for United’s trip to Cardiff City this weekend and Fernandez, 29, is likely to form a major part of Benitez’s plans this season.
A defensive reshuffle is likely on the cards this week with the injury to DeAndre Yedlin, and that may see Fernandez feature.
Despite United’s tough start to the season on paper, the centre-half can’t wait to get started.
“We have some big, big games early on,” he said.
“The first few weeks are tough but they are also very exciting.
“The most beautiful thing in football is to play against the biggest and best teams and challenge yourself
“There will be a great feeling in the dressing room before those games and hopefully we can continue that on the pitch too.”
On Benitez, with whom he played under in Serie A at Napoli, Fernandez said: “He is a similar manager to what he was then.
“It is same kind of training and he is the same kind of person too. But obviously he has more experience. He has to work differently in different countries whether it is Italy, Spain or England.
“It is always great to work with him.”
Fernandez has also revealed ex-Swansea teammate Ki Sung-yueng played a key role in convincing him to join Newcastle.
He said: “I spoke with Ki a lot before I came. He only had good things to say about the club, the city and everyone at Newcastle.
“When I was on my way, he sent me a message telling me he was glad I was joining him. We have a very good relationship.”