Part of me feels sorry for Alex Fernandez. He's clearly a talented player, coming from Real Madrid's academy, but it has been a case of wrong player, wrong club, for him this season after he joined on loan from Espanyol last summer. The midfielder himself admitted to Spanish paper AS (loosely translated by Google!):
"The experience is very positive in many ways, but the most important maybe not so much. I'm not playing what I thought, not for anything in particular but because coaches make decisions and one of them affects me."
The 23 year old has made to just two starts for Reading, and has not featured since the 5-2 win over Huddersfield in the FA Cup in January. He may have scored in that game, but it is his only appearance so far under Brian McDermott. About the returning boss, Fernandez had this to say:
'I joined with another coach (Steve Clarke) and everything was fine. He played fairly, gave me minutes and we were participating well in the league. But things happened at the club, poor results and the coach was dismissed. The current coach was appointed and since then has not gone very well. He publicly has always said good words about me, I train very well, I'm a good professional and I deserve to play, but he prefers to players that next year will be in the club."
So it seems McDermott's philosophy is to plan ahead for next season according to Fernandez, but the Spaniard is not part of that plan, and he claims that he has had interest from other clubs:
"In the winter I had interest from a couple of Spanish Primera teams and some of England, the Championship. When I played with Reading I have done well, and so the coach said. But there has been, the last two months have not gone as expected, and the idea almost one hundred percent is to play in Spain next season."
There was however, an option to buy him at the end of the loan spell which will not be taken up by Reading as Fernandez explains:
"Yes, it's a little strange. It is already clear that neither they will exercise the purchase option or I'm staying because I'm not playing much. It is true that when he [McDermott] came there were many months ahead, we were not in bad position, and if he had been playing me I may have stayed. But he decides to use those who are already at Reading."
Despite this, he says that it has been a valuable experience playing in England:
"Even though I haven't had many minutes, you learn typical English football: that aggressiveness. Maybe it was one of the important factors missing in my game, so I think in view of the coming season I will become better. I learned a lot. Here also it is necessary to be very strong. I have learned to be a tough player because it is a very physical league."
You can read the full interview here, including the midfielder's thoughts on his brother Nacho starring in the Real Madrid first team, Espanyol's current situation and rumours linking him to Real Betis.