Great news this morning as both Hatem Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye have made the French squad for the Euro 2012 Championships.
Ben Arfa in action for France against Iceland on Sunday
As expected French manager Laurent Blanc has included both Newcastle players in his final squad of 23, which he has just announced.
And Newcastle target Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, the Montpellier captain and center-back, and Yoann Gourcuff, the midfield play-maker, were the two players cut from the provisional squad of 25.
There had been some question marks about Gourcuff’s fitness, and it seems that Blanc is not willing to take any risks with the Lyon play-maker. Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa has never been capped by France at the full International level.
This will be Ben Arfa’s first participation in a major tournament for France, and his courage, fortitude and spirit in the almost two years he’s been on Tyneside, is starting to pay off for him.
This will give the 25 year-old a huge boost, after his first season on Tyneside was decimated by a serious injury.
Both players had very good seasons for Newcastle, in what became a break-out season for the Magpies under manager Alan Pardew, who himself will be delighted his two charges have made Laurent Blanc’s squad.
To his credit Alan Pardew has been pushing this year for Ben Arfa to play again for France, and the lad now has 9 caps after playing well for France against Iceland on Sunday night, in their come-from-behind 3-2 win.
That was Ben Arfa’s first cap in two years, and Yohan Cabaye has 11 caps for France, and has been a regular starter for the side over the last year, in either the attacking or defending central midfield position.
Now all we need to do is sign Lille’s Mathieu Debuchy in the next couple of weeks, and then we’ll have three players in the French squad.