Both Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye started for France against Iceland last night in Valenciennes, and both Newcastle players had more than decent games.
Ben Arfa – in action last night for France
And the chance that Ben Arfa will make the squad, which France manager Laurent Blanc will announce at any time, was strengthened by the fact that Marseilles forward Loïc Rémy has been forced to withdraw from the provisional squad of 26, and will now miss Euro2012 due to a thigh injury.
A scan yesterday on the 25-year-old’s torn muscle, suffered in a league game against Auxerre two weeks ago, showed the injury still has not healed as well as had been expected.
So Blanc only has to eliminate two players to get to his final squad of 23, and we now expect Ben Arfa to make his first squad for France in a major tournament, while Yohan Cabaye is expected not only to make the squad, but also to start in central midfield for France against England two weeks today, in the first game in their Group.
France play England on June 11th, the Ukraine on the 15th and then Sweden on the 19th June, and last night was the first time Ben Arfa has played for France since he arrived on Tyneside in August of 2010.
The French supporters know Ben Arfa as a bit of a brat from his time at Lyon and Marseilles, but they will now have to get used to a much more professional and mature Ben Arfa.
The 9 times capped Frenchman has changed for the better under Alan Pardew’s tutelage at Newcastle – in both temperament, skills and work-rate.
And it could be that both Ben Arfa and Cabaye will start against England, as Ben Arfa seemed to have a good understanding with France right-back Mathieu Debuchy last night, with Debuchy rumored to be coming to Newcastle to join his big pal Yohan Cabaye on Tyneside.
Debuchy would be a great signing for Newcastle, and of course he scored France’s first goal last night, five minutes into the second half, as France gallantly came back with three goals in the second half to win the game, after being 2-0 down at half time.