Ronaldo, Cantona…Ben Arfa!
Alan Pardew has again been talking about Hatem Ben Arfa (see below) and I think he’s definitely striking the right balance between ‘carrot and stick’. Quick to praise his talent and contribution so far but also making it clear that the Frenchman needs to work harder to really make the best use of his undoubted talent.
I would have preferred the manager to use the outstanding Demba Ba as a role model for Ben Arfa to aspire to but up to a (very small) point I’ll take on board his comments that Hatem can look to the likes of Shola, Leon Worst and Peter Rubbish Pants as examples of working for the team.
Obviously the likes of a Ronaldo is out there together with Messi as the two outstanding players in the world. What Ben Arfa is capable of is moments of their genius and if he can combine that with a growing work ethic, he may not get to be the greatest player in the world but he could certainly be one of the greatest talents in the Premier League.
Over to Alan Pardew;
“I am going to require more energy from him for that No. 10 role. The boy has talent, you only have to see him with the ball at his feet. But he needs to understand he must put in more effort for the role he wants. I think of Cristiano Ronaldo, when he arrived and even Eric Cantona, to a degree. These great players sometimes need a period of adjustment.
I’m not suggesting for one minute he’s going to be as good as those players. But that kind of flair player does need to understand what the Premier League is all about and he’s getting a grasp of it.
He’s not really a difficult character around the place, but he needs to understand we have got success here because of the commitment we put into training every day and into games. Sometimes I don’t think he gets that.
He is definitely improving, as that goal showed. I don’t think he would have got that goal four or five weeks ago. All great players need confidence, you want your team-mates to believe in you.
With Shola Ameobi, Leon Best and Peter Lovenkrands, it’s ingrained in those guys. Hatem doesn’t have to be less maverick – I will never take that away from him. That is his strength.
What we do need from him is discipline in the game.”
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