Hatem Ben Arfa has been described as Newcastle’s best player by boss Alan Pardew who attempted to sign the French international as soon as he arrived in the North East.
Newcastle head to Everton after good starts to the season by both clubs and Ben Arfa’s all round play along with his link up with strikers Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse has particularly pleased Pardew.
“Hatem is our best player at the moment,” said Pardew before Monday’s trip to Everton.
“One of the first things I did when I came here was to end Hatem’s loan from Marseille by signing him.”
“One of the reasons I did so was because of that goal against Everton. It was special and I was keen to work with Hatem.”
“People underestimate what footballers do in terms of putting their limbs on the line,” he said.
“Big joint operations and things like knee replacements are the penalties players face in later life and that injury Hatem suffered will probably affect him in some way in the future but he stills goes out there fearlessly and takes people on.”
“You have to take into account that he’s liable for those type of bad injuries because people lunge at him. But Hatem’s very focused about being a professional footballer. A lot of players could learn from him in terms of that – although he’s still a maverick. You never know quite what he’s going to do. He gives the team an X-factor, which is important.”