Sabtu, 14 Januari 2012

Ben Arfa put on notice

Hatem Ben Arfa has been told by manager Alan Pardew that he must improve his work rate if he is to become a Newcastle United stalwart.

The Frenchman celebrated a rare start by scoring a sensational goal in Newcastle's 2-1 FA Cup win over Blackburn Rovers last weekend.

The goal illustrated everything good about Ben Arfa as he cut in and out of several challenges before crashing home an unstoppable strike beyond Mark Bunn.

While Newcastle have hardly missed the 24-year-old this season as Yohan Cabaye and Cheikh Tiote have impressed in central midfield, Tiote is now away on African Nations duty meaning Ben Arfa has the chance to shine in the Ivorian's absence.

Pardew believes Ben Arfa has what it takes to succeed if he combines his silky skills with maximum effort on the pitch.

"The boy we know has talent. You only have to see him with the ball. But Hatem has to understand this club and I'm going to require more energy from him," Pardew told reporters.

"In our team, with the teammates he's got, he's going to need to put in more work-rate and more effort."

The Newcastle boss also admits that it has taken the former Marseille man a while to acclimatise to English football and to recover from the broken leg he suffered last year.

"His kind of flair player needs to understand what the Premier League is about," Pardew added.

"He's been injured for almost a year and he's not had a lot of experience of the Premier League. Players need a period of adjustment."

Ben Arfa, meanwhile, is perfectly aware of the competition at the club but believes it is now his chance to shine.

He said: "It's important to play consecutive games and that's what I want. I have to perform every week to keep my place."

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