Hatem Ben Arfa has been training at France’s top Football Academy Clairefontaine for many years now.
Ben Arfa – in action for France recently
And indeed he completed most of his rehabilitation from the double fracture of his left leg there, from October of 2010 through April of the next year, before rejoining Newcastle.
The mercurial player, who has been gracing Newcastle’s right wing this year, has been discussed by his former coach Claude Dussault at Clairefontaine, on RMC Radio today:
“Before arriving at Clairefontaine, Ben Arfa was already known throughout the Parisian football scene. He was making the headlines. He was younger than the others, he wasn’t the best, but he definitely had the technical qualities of a good left-footed player.”
“He worked and analysed his technique and his speed. He is one of the most talented players that has ever come out Clairefontaine. He is the Nicolas Anelka type.”
“But he only uses 75% of his potential. He has just begun to understand football, which is also defensive and collective. At Clairefontaine, he could do more in tiring his opponent and recovering the ball, as he is starting to do now.”
Huge credit must go to Alan Pardew and the training staff at Newcastle for making this genius – a hard working genius.
And by his own admission, Ben Arfa has finally got that it’s a team game, and he must play for the team and not just himself, which was the case when he played at Lyon and Marseilles.
Newcastle fans will be very willing to see Ben Arfa improve even more in the next few seasons on Tyneside, as he reaches his full potential as a footballer.
Certainly from what we’ve seen already this year, it boggles the mind, if that’s only 75% of this lad’s potential.
But we also have a sneaking suspicion that Claude Dussault may be right in what he says.