Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 14 October 2015

Hughton happy with Hatem

Published 25/09/2010

Hatem Ben Arfa
Hatem Ben Arfa

Newcastle boss Chris Hughton is happy to let Hatem Ben Arfa's feet do the talking after seeing him launch his career in English football in style.

The 23-year-old Frenchman was handed his first start for the Magpies in last Saturday's Barclays Premier League trip to Everton, and responded with a stunning winning goal which rekindled memories of compatriots David Ginola and Laurent Robert.

Hughton said: "Of course I am aware of the things that have been said about him, but this is a wonderful opportunity for the lad. Right through this, he showed a great desire to come here. You have got to make sure you put them into an environment that is as healthy as possible and competitive as possible. You can only deal with situations as they arise. I am very, very aware of that, but he is a lad who has been very popular since the first couple of days he came in."

He added: "Certainly, I wouldn't anticipate any problems."

Ben Arfa made his debut as a substitute in the shock 2-0 home defeat by Blackpool a fortnight ago, and the locals at St James' Park were impressed by his pace and quality on the ball on an otherwise disappointing afternoon.

But Hughton believes those supporters who marvelled at the antics of Ginola and Robert in the past have not seen anything yet, although he has impressed upon the newcomer that he will also have to put in a shift for the club.

He said: "As with all gifted players, it's how you use them in the team and the work ethic they have and what they can produce on the football pitch.

"But the one thing that doesn't change - the most important thing is always going to be the team.

"Whether it be a gifted Ben Arfa or a player who perhaps plays in a little bit of a different role, it doesn't make any difference, what they have got to do is work hard for the football team.

"We have been absolutely delighted with him so far."

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