After Newcastle were well beaten yesterday by Manchester United, who have won the Premier League 12 times and been runners-up 5 times and been 3rd three times in its 20 year history, it’s good to hear one of our best players – Hatem Ben Arfa – say he just loves life on Tyneside.
Ben Arfa – thriving at Newcastle
Newcastle’s season so far in the Premier League has not gone too well, and we have Sunderland away in our next game in 13 days time after the International break, and we need to get a good result there, to start to turn our season around.
The good news is we should have all four missing players Tim Krul, Fab Coloccini, Steven Taylor and Danny Simpson, all back and available for that game.
But Ben Arfa says he loves it at Newcastle, and thrives on the passion that is football on Tyneside:
“I had a reputation for being hot-headed, but I feel as though I’ve grown up. I’m calmer now, more serene, but that comes from being more mature. “Young footballers are selfish. I was selfish. It was all about me and what I did. When you are young you think about showing off, you always want to prove yourself, to be the centre of attention.”
“You want people to say you are the best, but as you get older you realise it’s a team game and to bring out the best in yourself, you have to put yourself at the service of the team.” “I’m arriving at my peak, I’m starting to realize my full potential. I don’t think I’m quite there yet, but I’m pleased with how things are going. I’m a better player now than when I signed for Newcastle.”
“I’m more mature as a person and more mature as a footballer. The two go hand in hand, the basis of the player is the person. I’ve grown up.
“Playing in England, I’ve learnt you have to work hard all the time. When I came here, if I lost the ball, I didn’t try to win it back, now I always try to get it back.”
“You always have to give 100 per cent. Every game is tough, whether you are playing the best team or the worst, that is English football’s charm.
“The supporters have helped me a lot, not just in helping me get back from my injury, but also when things have not gone so well for me on the pitch.
“We feed off each other.”
“It gives me that little bit extra at Newcastle I’ve not had at other clubs. They encourage me to take risks, to try and make things happen. When things go wrong, they just want me to keep going, to keep trying. I feel really loved.” “It is the ideal marriage for me. I love the passion of the game here, it is incredible.”
“I thrive on that. It gives me a lot of pleasure to play football in this country.
“I’ve not had a close relationship with a manager before. Alan knows when I need to be praised and when I need to be criticized.” “He asks me questions. He doesn’t let me do what I want, but he doesn’t just tell me what to do either.
“It’s the best relationship I’ve had with a manager and he has been very important to me at Newcastle. He is the coach who has understood me the most.”
We agree with Ben Arfa that he is a better player than when he arrived over two years ago from Marseilles, and we also think that Alan Pardew has handled the lad brilliantly, and has been able to get the best out of him in a Newcastle shirt.
Now if only Mike Ashley will sanction bringing in three top players through the door in January, we’ll be going somewhere. 😀
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org
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