There’s been a lot of talk about how difficult Ben Arfa is to handle, but we think he’s handled himself very well indeed since he’s been at Newcastle.
Ben Arfa tussing with Clint Hill yesterday
Of course he had that terrible broken leg fifteen months ago, but he’s now getting back to his best and we thought he was simply excellent yesterday in may different ways.
Not just because he looks so good on the ball, but he worked very hard for the side as soon as he came on after 20 minutes for the injured Cabaye, and Alan Pardew’s patience with the French International is starting to pay off.
Indeed, if the Frenchman keeps following Pardew’s advice and doing the things the Newcastle manger wants to see from him, he’ll become a much better player and surely will be back in the full French squad for Euro 2012 this summer.
Ben Arfa is frustrated at not being in the starting line-up at Newcastle, but he is ready to work hard to get that starting position.
This what Ben Arfa told L’Equipe today:
“I am frustrated at not being able to play, but I won’t go and start an argument with the coach about it, because I know that I will only lose,”
“I am working as hard as possible in training and I will be ready for the moment I will be needed. It’s a difficult situation for me because I love football so much.”
“I will be patient and hopefully that will pay off.”
Alan Pardew has done fantastically well since he took over the management job on Tyneside, and with his personality, confidence and a willingness to play good attacking football, he’s in the right job at Newcastle – that’s for sure.
And all the talk about Alan possibly becoming the new England manager in the summer, is nothing more than an acknowledgement of how very well he’s doing on Tyneside, as he has Newcastle in joint 5th position in the Premier League.
What’s working with Ben Arfa is that the lad seems to be listening to what Pardew is telling him, and it was apparent yesterday, as Ben Arfa put in a lot of work off the ball, and he put in an excellent display for the Magpies in the 1-0 win against QPR.
Ben Arfa is working hard both on the field and in training, in an attempt to nail down that first team starting place on Tyneside:
“I’m continuing to work in training and be a good team-mate. I am working harder than ever to get a place both in and out of training.”
“I will respect his authority and keep my philosophy whether I play or not,” “For me football is a game based on lots of movements and passes.”
“The coach likes the long, direct game. He often says, “cross it in the box” but I completely respect that philosophy.”
“I will not start any arguments, my time will come and I just have to be patient. I am ready both physically and mentally.”
Alan Pardew has a name of being very fair with his players, and he creates excellent working relationships with them, and we think he will get the very best out of the mercurial Frenchman.
But it was a complete surprise when Ben Arfa was not in the starting eleven yesterday after his world-class goal in the previous game against Blackburn, which turned the game for Newcastle in that FA Cup tie.
The fact that he didn’t complain and when he came on, to great cheers form the adoring Newcastle crowd, he got down to business and helped Newcastle to a valuable 3 points.
That’s what we want to see from our players, and the Frenchman deserves great credit for that positive attitude.