It was great to see Hatem Ben Arfa where we want him, back on the pitch, last night at Hartlepool.

After a nightmare Summer of Euros disappointment, disciplinary issues with his national team, the appointment of his old adversary Didier Descamps as new France manager (Deschamps first squad to be announced on Thursday) and a delayed pre-season, it was essential he got some pitch time.

With Alan Pardew bemoaning a lack of imagination so far this pre-season, the stage was set for the return of the Frenchman.

The ideal scenario played out as Ben Arfa came off the bench for the second half with United rampant at already three goals up.

Speaking to the club’s official TV channel, Hatem had this to say;

“It was nice to be back on the pitch. I’m very happy that I played 45 minutes and I feel very good, and now I’m going to step it up to be ready quickly.

I was in the Euros and I’ve stopped for one month but I ran on my holiday and I kept playing football with my friends

Now I feel good but I’m going to take it step by step.

It was most important to be on the pitch, to feel the sensation, to get back to feeling the pitch.

When you play a game, it’s most important to feel the sensation of the ball and with your team-mates”.

More positive news was that the whole interview was conducted in English which hopefully suggests that Ben Arfa is getting more and more settled in his adopted country.

If he can show last season’s late form over a whole season then what a year we could be in for!

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