Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ben Arfa in Need of Time to Shine; Fans Expecting Too Much of French Ace - Pardew

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ben Arfa in Need of Time to Shine; Fans Expecting Too Much of French Ace - Pardew

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner

ALAN Pardew has called for patience after insisting people are expecting too much, too soon from Hatem Ben Arfa.

The French playmaker made only his second start of the season in Wednesday's League Cup defeat at Blackburn Rovers.

Much has been expected of Ben Arfa since he marked his full debut with a stunning winner at Everton.

The 24-year-old broke his leg shortly after, but it did nothing to dampen enthusiasm on the St James' Park terraces.

Pardew said: "Perhaps too much is expected of Hatem.

"I didn't think it was his best game at Blackburn, he will play a lot better than that."

It has been a frustrating campaign for the man handed the No 10 shirt in preseason to reflect the role earmarked for him.

He injured his ankle in pre-season and made his comeback in the third round of the League Cup, at Nottingham Forest. His return has coincided with an excellent run of form which saw Pardew name an unchanged side for five consecutive league matches.

He has not played reserve-team football to build up his sharpness and his Ewood Park struggles mean he is likely to be back on the bench for Monday's Premier League trip to Stoke City.

Pardew added: "It is difficult as a striker to come into the team and have an immediate impact, especially when you have been out for a long, long time.

"Possibly he is trying too hard to make an impact.

"With Hatem it is a question of being patient and above all him being patient, to make sure he gets himself right, because when he does he will be a fantastic player for us."

Ben Arfa's inactivity has been partly due to the form of Leon Best, though the striker is still to convince Giovanni Trapattoni. The Republic of Ireland manager recently criticised Best's work-rate, saying he waited for the ball to come to him rather than foraging for it. …

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