Alan Pardew is talking today about his mercurial winger Hatem Ben Arfa, and the Newcastle manager is challenging the French International to be more consistent in the coming season.
Ben Arfa gives thumbs up at the French Training camp in June
It’s a drawback with will o’the wisp players like Ben Arfa, that they can disappear in games, but we saw Ben Arfa increase his work-rate significantly for Newcastle last season.
And in January he finally became a starter for the side, and scored 6 goals last season for Newcastle, and two of them this year against Blackburn in the FA Cup and Bolton in the Premier League, were the best goals seen at St. James Park – maybe ever – and that’s saying something.
Alan Pardew has a good knack of communicating with his players though the many interviews he gives during the season, and he made it clear to the Frenchman that he had to work hard for Newcastle, or else he wouldn’t get in the side – as simple as that.
Unfortunately during the summer he seemed to slip back into his old ways when representing France in Euro 2012, and the 25 year-old has since been warned as to his future conduct by the French Football Federation (FF), after he argued with then French manager Laurent Blanc in the dressing room.
But that hasn’t stopped Ben Arfa from being selected for the upcoming friendly game against Uruguay at the Grand Stade du Havre on August 15th, along with Yohan Cabaye, by the new French manager Didier Deschamps.
Deschamps and Ben Arfa didn’t exactly get on when both were at Marseilles, and that was one reason Ben Arfa ended up at Newcastle airport one day in August two years ago, determined to force a move through to Newcastle United – which he did.
And only recently Ben Arfa’s father Kamel was involved in an incident with the lad’s agent, Michel Ouazine, outside the disciplinary hearing in Paris.
This is what the Newcastle manager had to say about his mercurial French winger today:
“A lot of my players would tell you Hatem has talent they can only dream of.” “He just has to bring it to the table. There were games last season where he did – but there were a lot of games where he didn’t.”
“He has to get consistency in his game. It’s about how many times he can bring that magic to the pitch. He needs to improve on that.”
Ben Arfa is currently getting fit again with his French team-mate Yohan Cabaye, as they only reported back to training last Monday, after having time off following Euro 2012, but they should still be able to make it by 18th August, when we take on Tottenham at St. James’ Park.
That’s always assuming they don’t get injured playing for France on the previous Wednesday. 🙁