FEDERICO Fernandez has thanked head coach Steve Bruce and Newcastle United for getting his future sorted out early after being told he will be staying at St James’ Park for at least another year.

The Magpies have exercised a one-year option on his existing terms rather than wait until the end of the campaign to decide.

That has been welcomed by Fernandez as a 31-year-old who will be well aware of the club’s policy in recent years to overlook the thirtysomethings.

Previous manager Rafa Benitez started the drive to introduce more experience and Bruce has followed suit, having been impressed with the performances of the Argentine defender this season, even though Newcastle will still be looking to recruit younger players.

Fernandez said: "I'm very happy with the news - another year in the Premier League, with Newcastle. It's been a good time at the club, so when I spoke with the boss this morning and he told me the club wanted to do this, I told him that of course, for me and my family, it's good to know, and at this stage as well.

"Hopefully now we can push for the last few games to try to get more points, and I'm very happy about the news. To stay in the Premier League, to stay here and feel important, that for me is the main point - to be fit, try to help the club and try to push in every game I can play.”

Newcastle are eight points clear of the relegation zone following Saturday’s victory at Southampton.

And the decision to hand Fernandez an extension follows last Friday’s news that Jonjo Shelvey and Matt Ritchie have signed new deals.

Fernandez moved to Newcastle from Swansea City in August 2018 when Benitez agreed to pay £6m for him. He has made 25 appearances this season, scoring twice for Bruce in victories against West Ham United and Southampton.

Bruce, who also tied goalkeeper Martin Dubravka down to a new deal earlier this season, said: "It's really good news to get Federico tied up. He has had a great season and richly deserves this recognition.

"He is a great professional. He trains and works incredibly hard for the team and he continues to be a positive influence around the place. We're delighted to have him."

Fernandez will take on Sheffield United with Newcastle this Saturday at St James’ Park when the Tyneside club will aim to take another huge step towards sealing top-flight status for another year.