Alan Pardew made a number of Newcastle players much better footballers last season.
Ben Arfa – has matured on Tyneside
Some of those Alan had a big influence on were Ryan Taylor, Tim Krul, Davide Santon, Steven Taylor among others.
And one of the others that Alan Pardew has managed brilliantly in his time at Newcastle, is the mercurial French International play-maker – Hatem Ben Arfa.
Ben Arfa had a name for being a trouble-maker when he arrived on Tyneside on loan from Marseilles in the summer of 2010, and the lad finally signed on in January of 2011, after Alan Pardew had been installed as manager.
And the fee that keeps being quoted for him is £2M – which is indeed another bargain buy for Newcastle if that’s true.
Ben Arfa is a different character on Tyneside than he was while playing for Lyon and Marseilles in France, and according to Alan Pardew he has been no bother at all.
Certainly he seems a much more mature young man, over the almost two years he has been at Newcastle, and of course he had to recover from that terrible double leg break, and in the process he showed great courage and fortitude.
Yes – and it probably helps that he likes Greggs the Bakers. 😀
This is what a reflective Ben Arfa had to say today from the Clairefontaine training complex, where the French squad for Euro 2012 have gathered:
“In life, every failure makes you grow,” “It’s part of what makes a man grow up. At 25, I’m more mature than I was at 20. I am stronger than before. I’ve evolved, I grew up.”
“I am calmer, quieter. In the field, I feel much better. I’m really much more committed to the collective. I think now more than ever, I’m a competitor.”
“With experience, it made me better. I give everything now because I am responsible for my actions.” “I’ve kept my strengths and started to erase some weaknesses, like lack of concentration and consistency in the game.”
“Much is expected of me, but I also expect a lot from myself.” “I hope I can exploit my potential before the end of my career, otherwise it will be a regret and disappointment.”
“I can play almost everywhere but the right side, the position I have held in Newcastle, is the job I love most,” “In Marseille, I played more on the left but now I feel better on the right, and that’s where I have more and more freedom.”
“I am there to create an offensive game and hurt opposing defences.”
Good words from the French International.
Ben Arfa is in the final 27 from which French manager Laurent Blanc will make his selection of the final 23 players, that will represent France in the European Championships.
It will be a major surprise if Newcastle’s Yohan Cabaye and Ben Arfa are not both in that final 23, and we even have hopes that both will start against England in their first game on June 11th in Group D.
But as England supporters maybe we shouldn’t hope for that?
Ukraine and Sweden are the other two countries in the group.
And for the record Ben Arfa has appeared 34 times for Newcastle since he arrived, with 7 great goals and 7 assists.