Rafa Benitez will be without right-back DeAndre Yedlin next week at Cardiff because of his knee injury and he could be out a long time depending on the extent of his injury.
Normally we would expect Javier Manquillo to come in to replace Yedlin, but Rafa has talked about how good it was to get Federico Fernandez into the club last week and that he provides experienced cover in defense.
So maybe Rafa will be looking to see how Fernandez is in training this week and he’s already match-fit having played for West Brom a week ago.
Federico Fernandez – can play at right back
He would bring more height to the team if the right-footed player comes into the side at right-back in the absence of Yedlin.
And lack of height seemed to be a problem on Saturday with Spurs scoring with two unchallenged headers.
Here’s some of what Rafa has already said about Fernandez, whom he knows well from managing him at Napoli:
“That protection from injuries was the main thing behind the decision to bring in Fernandez,”
“If you have him, maybe you can go to Clark, and you can protect Dummett or there is Manquillo who can play on both sides. “
“We were trying to bring in someone with experience in the Premier League who could cover (in defense).”
“The position in defense that he wanted was a center back and left back,”
“The number ten is another position but if you can’t have everything then at least make sure that you protect yourself with experience and with the level to compete in the Premier League.”
“To lose Lejeune before and now we see what happens with Yedlin, it’s not ideal.”
Those words at least suggest Rafa could use Fernandez at right back as well as at center-back.
It could be that Fernandez can eventually become the starting center-back this season alongside captain Jamaal Lascelles.
We’ll know soon enough but the starting team at Cardiff is going to be interesting.