Hatem Ben Arfa is back, and looks to have fully recovered from the horrendous double leg break he suffered almost a year ago, and from the ankle injury he picked up on his first game back in Kansas City in July.
Ben Arfa – fit again – at last
Ben Arfa has been giving lots of interviews since successfully returning to the side on Tuesday night, and he talked today with the Daily Mirror:
“My leg was shattered in two places. One bit pointing this way, the other pointing the wrong direction” “But now it has finally healed, and it is straight again! It took a year, there were setbacks along the way but now it is right. It is a massive relief.”
“It was 11 months. I was sad and a very frustrated at times but I had to keep calm. I wanted the whole process to hurry up. I wanted it to be ready immediately.”
“I have not been depressed, but I have certainly been sad. It has been hard watching the team play and not being involved. It is difficult to come back from a big injury like the one I suffered, but now it is finished and I will put it behind me.”
It’s just short of a full year since Ben Arfa’s left leg was shattered at Manchester City on October 3rd last year, and we hope he is playing in the Newcastle side regularly again very soon, although Alan Pardew has emphasized he’s not going to rush him back unduly.
Newcastle took a massive gamble on the player by signing him permanently for £5M from Marseilles last January, while he was still injured, so we thought it wa strange in the summer when the news was the club could not bring in Swiss winger Tranquillo Barnetta, because he had a slight injury to his leg, and would be out for about four weeks.
Ben Arfa did most of his rehabilitation under the watchful eyes of the medics at the Clairefontaine Academy, just outside of Paris, but he also kept in regular touch with the Newcastle medics.
The French International got 70 minutes on Tuesday night, and he looked good, and will most likely be on the bench against Blackburn Rovers on Saturday afternoon, in a game that could see Newcastle retain 4th place in the league, if the lads can win it.
And with so much time to think things over as he recovered from his very serious injury over the last year, that’s exactly what he did, think a lot, but seemingly in a positive way, because he says he is now more appreciative of his football.
It’s strange how set-backs in life often turn out to be positive things over the long haul, and you seem to appreciate more of what you already have.
Ben Arfa continued:
“So many things went through my mind,” “It was not just worrying about football. It was life in general. It is difficult to explain, but it has made me a bit more patient, I appreciate my career now.”
“I think it can make me a stronger person, coming through that sort of trauma. My heart is stronger.” “I have to make sure that, in the long run, it becomes an experience that I learn from – a good experience, in a way. Now it is finished, though.”
“I am very happy to be playing again. It has been a difficult year, a long, hard time for me physically and mentally. I am delighted now to have got back on the pitch.”
And Newcastle fans have played their part in keeping Ben Arfa’s spirits up, and we often put out articles to allow readers to contact Ben Arfa and send him messages of support, and it seems to have done the job, as the 24 year-old continued:
“It feels good to be back at work. The supporters have been texting me and messaging me and I have to thank them for their support. They have been very good with me and they have kept me going.”
“It is important for me to take my responsibilities as a play-maker for this team – someone who is creative,” “I have to do good things on the pitch every game.”
“I have confidence in my ability and in this squad. We have some very good players and we can go far this season.” “Am I ready? I would, of course, love to play some part on Saturday. I am ready.”
We expect the Newcastle team on Saturday to most likely be the one that got a draw at Aston Villa last Saturday, with possibly Sylvain Marveaux coming in for Jonas Gutierrez on the left wing.
Alan Pardew wants to see a little more from Ben Arfa in training before he will give him a starting position in the side, and he will play somewhere in the middle of the park, and probably as a withdrawn striker.
This is what Alan Pardew said about Ben Arfa:
“It is a horrible road to go down, with a long-term injury like that,” “He is in a good place right now. He has been helped by the other new French boys. He has five or six French speakers around him now.
“He likes the group and he trusts us. Now it is a matter of when he is ready. He shows flashes of brilliance in training, but I want him to do it more often in training before I bring him in.”
“My view is that he can’t play out wide. He has not got the relish for it and his best football comes through the middle.” “Realistically, he knows he has got more to do on the training ground. He smiles at me as if to say, ‘Okay, I will play next week.'”
“He has character and there are times in the coming weeks when if he has not made a start he will be kicking my door down.”
It’s terrific to see Ben Arfa back again, but there’s really no undue hurry to rush the lad back, and it seems Pardew will give him some substitute appearances before starting the French International in the team.