Hatem Ben Arfa gets the call

France boss Laurent Blanc has included in-form Newcastle attacker Hatem Ben Arfa in his preliminary squad for Euro 2012.

The talented winger has delighted the Tyneside club’s fans this season after recovering from a serious injury, and has been one of the key reasons that Alan Pardew’s men are fighting for a top four berth.

Blanc has admitted that Ben Arfa’s form was too good to overlook.

“We have monitored him and can count on him for the knockout stages of the Euro,” Blanc told Eurosport.

“Sadly after a dispute with Marseille, when I told him to be calm, he left for Newcastle where he suffered a terrible injury.

“I have watched him play again and watched him recuperating at Clairefontaine, he took some time to come back but his talent was always there and always will be, and he has shown more maturity this season.

“His speed and dribbling abilities can be an asset for us,” he concluded.

Other Premier League players included in the contingent are Younes Kaboul, Laurent Koscielny, Patrice Evra, Yohan Cabaye, Florent Malouda, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy.

By Gareth McKnight