Cabaye says fans may regret it if France select Ben Arfa

YOHAN Cabaye believes England supporters may regret Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew's recommendation that Hatem Ben Arfa should go to this summer's European Championships.

YOHAN Cabaye believes England supporters may regret Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew's recommendation that Hatem Ben Arfa should go to this summer's European Championships.

Yohan Cabaye

He believes his fellow Frenchman could destroy England if he is let loose on them in their Group D opening match against one another in Ukraine.

Pardew strongly believes Ben Arfa, whose brilliant goal against Bolton on Monday quickly became a worldwide sensation, should be included in Laurent Blanc’s squad for this summer’s finals, given his form in the black and white shirt.

The 25-year-old has scored two goals in his eight French caps so far, including one against Norway last August after Blanc called him up after a two-year absence from the international scene.

Midfielder Cabaye, who himself is an outside bet to make the Euros, has always known his St James’ Park team-mate had the natural talent to take him to the top.

And he agreed with his manager that Ben Arfa was ready to make his mark for an improving France side that should be England’s biggest rivals for top spot in their qualification group. Cabaye said: “It is not a surprise to me how well Hatem has played because he has always been capable of that very high level. I have known him since he was very young so I know what he is capable of.

“I would love him to keep playing well for the next five games and, of course, I want him to be in the France squad for the Euros. He would be a very big asset; we need this sort of player in the team and squad.

“He can win games for himself and I hope he will continue to play well for the next seven games. I hope, maybe he can go and play in the Euros!

“Maybe this will be bad news for England! Nobody has said anything to me yet about being in the same group as England, but maybe they will now.”

Jonas Gutierrez, one of the team’s most consistent players this season, has declared himself “proud” of Newcastle’s recent run as wins over Norwich, West Brom, Liverpool, Swansea and Bolton have put the Magpies in with a fantastic chance of a top four finish.

“It’s good to have five wins in a row, especially with it being near the end of the season,” he said.

“It’s always difficult to get three points in this league whoever you are playing against, so we should be proud of what we have achieved. There are not many teams who do this.

“We are in a good position and we now have a couple of weeks before we play again. Hopefully when we play Stoke after our break we can continue this form and keep it going until the end of the season.”

Pardew has given his first-team squad the rest of this week as they have a rare free weekend coming up because of the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley this weekend.

But striker Demba Ba has not been idle, a fact he revealed on his Twitter account.

He has been making sure his body is ready for the final five games that could see Newcastle qualify for the Champions League by suggesting he has been recuperating in a cryogenic tank, a favourite training ploy of the Welsh Grand Slam winning rugby side.

“I’ve been locked in a room -110 degrees for 3 min. Nearly naked. I never felt so cold. But now I feel refresh and ready for the last 5 games,” Ba said yesterday.

QPR defender Clint Hill has branded Joey Barton “brave” for criticising the club’s supporters.

Former Newcastle star Barton hit out in his programme notes ahead of the recent victory over Arsenal, claiming the stick he had been receiving following his big-money move from Newcastle had begun to “seep in”.

However, the words seemed to have a galvanising effect as Rangers secured a shock win over the Gunners ahead of last night’s encounter with Swansea at Loftus Road, Hill has spoken out in favour of his team-mate.

“Joey was brave to come out and say what he said in his programme notes, but it has had the desired effect,” Hill said.

“The fans have been a little bit despondent with some of our performances and results, but there is a unity about us right now.

“It was a bit of a rallying cry if you like. It worked wonders against Arsenal and hopefully it will do the business against Swansea too.”


David Whetstone
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