Like the rest of the Newcastle squad not on International duty, Ben Arfa reported back to training at the Benton headquarters yesterday morning.
Ben Arfa – back in training at Newcastle
A member of Ben Arfa’s family was taken ill early last week and Alan Pardew gave the French International compassionate leave, so he could travel to Tunisa to be with his family.
Ben Arfa had been penciled in to start for the Reserves when they traveled to Bolton Wanderers last Tuesday night, but he was unable to participate in Newcastle’s easy 3-0 win, when they fielded a very strong side.
And Ben Arfa will no doubt have more than a passing interest in France’s home game in Paris tonight, against Bosnia and Herzegovina, because a draw will be enough for France to win the group and get through to the finals to be played in next summer.
It’s the last game of Group D and Bosnia and Herzegovina are just one point behind France.
We don’t know if Newcastle’s Yohan Cabaye will play in the game tonight, after suffering what turned out to be a slight ankle injury last Thursday night, in helping France win 3-0 against Albania.
Ben Arfa trained yesterday with the rest of the squad in preparation for the Premier League game with Tottenham Hotspur at St. James’ Park on Sunday afternoon, and it promises to be some game, and a big test for the Magpies.
We expect Ben Arfa to again be on the bench for that game, but if he can push through and become a regular first teamer at Newcastle, which we expect he will, then he has every chance to be back in the French squad, and hopefully can play in Poland and the Ukraine next summer.
It would be great to see both Cabaye and Ben Arfa in the French squad next summer, and maybe a couple other players of Newcastle’s growing French contingent on Tyneside could make the French squad too.
Once the Internationals complete tonight, we expect a growing excitement and anticipation about the upcoming game against Tottenham on Sunday, and Newcastle have a good chance of winning that game.