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Onel Hernandez on becoming a father and looking ahead to Watford

7 November 2019

Onel Hernandez revealed his hectic 24-hours in the build-up to the Brighton game last week.

Hernandez was a doubt for the game against Brighton, due to the birth of his child, but made it against all odds. Telling the story of how it all happened, he said:

“It was a very weird situation because the Thursday evening, before we left the training ground, her waters broke. We called the midwife and she told us as long as she couldn’t feel the contractions, we could stay at home, but we had to get to the hospital in the next 24 hours.

“On the Friday morning she said something felt wrong, we knew the contractions were starting, so we drove to the hospital in London. We had to wait a lot, I started to think 'can I really play or not?'

"It was hard to talk with my partner about the situation because it’s the birth of my child, I wanted to stay there, but I want to play and help my team, so it was difficult.

“We had to wait all day, then between 8:30 and 9pm in the evening, the baby was born. It was an amazing feeling, really emotional. It was the best feeling I’ve had in my life, seeing my child.

"We found it funny that Kenny [McLean] had his baby the day before too, so we’re now both really tired but really proud.

“I was in contact with the boss and the team the whole time and they were asking me if I could play. I felt good to play, and my partner wasn’t alone at home, she was with her sister, so I said yes.

"I got home about 12:20am, and by 12:45am the driver had already arrived, so I left for Brighton and got to the hotel about 2am.”

Speaking on his relationship with his newborn child, Hernandez said: “For everyone in life, family is the most important thing. When I see her every day, I feel like I have so much responsibility, I’m her father and she has her mother, it’s such a lovely feeling. Every day I want to be with her and protect her, show her the world, it’s amazing.

“I feel so different now I’m a father. I’ve gone from being a young lad to a father, but I’m still Onel Hernandez, I haven’t changed - I’ve just got more responsibility.

“Everyone who has had kids will know the experience of them waking up. When she cries it might be she’s hungry, or she needs changing, or just something is wrong. It happens probably every two hours.

“I’ve started speaking to her, and she tries to listen or open her eyes, it’s incredible.”

“Me and Kenny have been speaking about it a lot, he told me how the birth went with his girlfriend and so did I, and we joke asking if either of us had a good sleep."

The Canaries suffered an unfortunate 2-0 defeat against Brighton in their game on Saturday. Speaking on the loss, Hernandez says the better team on the day won, but the game against Watford is just as, if not more, important.

“Brighton was a very tough game, we fought hard, but they played very well. Their playing style was very good, we tried to create chances, but they just played the better game on the day.”

“The game on Friday is very important, you feel it already this week from everyone. During training, the coach was on the pitch, normally he stands off the pitch, but he came on to push us forward. That was the first time he has done that.

“We’ve spoken about the game a lot this week and we feel everyone is prepared; we’re all raring for this game. We're also excited because we’re playing at home, we want to show that we can get the three points and that we’ll keep giving our best.”

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