It hasn’t been the smoothest of rides for Hatem Ben Arfa at Newcastle United, arriving on loan…scoring a sublime goal at Goodison Park….then a shocking injury thanks to Nigel De Jong.

This is what the player had to say to the Sunday Mirror;

“I am happy that I’ve not got that bad boy tag any more. I have gained maturity. We all improve in life and I feel that I did. We all do bad things in life but then we have to rectify them and get better.

There was big pressure on me in France. But it is part of life and I take responsibilities for that status. It was good to come to England. I feel less of the pressure that there was in France.

When you’re a football player, you want to be on the pitch. But I carried on with training, getting fitter and trying to get better. Alan Pardew told me to keep training hard.

He insisted that I was here for training all the time, the more you train and the better you train, the more likely I was to be on the pitch. I have been waiting for an opportunity to play games. Now it is here, I want to make the most of it.

It is a 90 minute energy that you need in England. The coach and the staff put that philosophy into us all the time and it helps. But the coach lets me play my game. I feel good here”.

His recovery hasn’t been the smoothest and maybe only now can we hope that Ben Arfa will show the player he can be consistently in this run-in to the end of the season.

Our season could stand or fall on it.