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Ben Arfa: Fan backing helped

Hatem Ben Arfa is grateful for the support he received from Newcastle United fans during his time stuck on the bench.

Last Updated: 27/12/13 at 09:53 Post Comment

Hatem Ben Arfa: Has had to be patient in his pursuit of a starting berth

Hatem Ben Arfa: Has had to be patient in his pursuit of a starting berth

The Frenchman accepts that the strength in depth which now exists at St James' Park means he will not start every week.

He has no complaints at filling a squad role, with the collective cause of greater importance than individual ambitions.

Ben Arfa has had to be patient in his pursuit of recognition, though, with a 5-1 victory over Stoke City on Boxing Day seeing him drafted back into Alan Pardew's starting XI for the first time in almost two months.

The highly-rated forward grabbed his opportunity with both hands and believes he is a stronger player - mentally and physically - for having spent a spell on the sidelines.

Ben Arfa said in the Shields Gazette: "We're very happy. We won, which is the most important thing.

"And I was very happy to be on the pitch. I hadn't started for two months, and I gave all my energy.

"Every time I came on, I tried to do my best. The crowd supported me when I was on the bench, and that made me stronger.

"I want to say thank you to them. Even when I was on the bench, they supported me. They give you confidence and strength.

"I'm very happy, but the most important thing was that we won."

On the competition for places at Newcastle, he added: "We have a big squad. We have very good players on the bench and on the pitch. That's very important for us.

"Everybody contributes. The spirit is important. When somebody is on the bench, he still motivates us in the dressing room. Everybody is together."

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sn'tthis strange. Last season we were worried that we were stuck with a Dinosaur in Moyes while Liverpool and Everton were disappearing into the distance with their young, spritely managerts, playing football from heaven. Progressive managers, they said. Managers who understand the modern game.........

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eing consistently and unrelentingly dog turd really takes it out of you. Try shadow boxing. That's what it's like watching Liverpool, punching thin air.

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ood list, some crackers in there. For me, I'd have had Steve McManaman for Liverpool away at Celtic in the UEFA cup in 1997. I was in the ground that night and everyone kept screaming at him to make a pass, but he just kept going and going and going...brilliant, and in the dying minutes too.

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