HATEM Ben Arfa remains committed to English football despite a second frustrating campaign on Tyneside.
While the playmaker’s debut season was ruined by a broken leg, this term has provided its fair share of frustration too.
At times they have spilled out, but Ben Arfa insists he has no intention of walking away.
“I have no desire to leave England,” he said. “They play real football here with passion and the fans are great.
“I have already played at Milan, Madrid and Barcelona, but it is in England that I feel the best when I am on the pitch.”
The tone of the interview with magazine France Football is far more conciliatory than some previous comments from the cultured attacker, who was critical of manager Alan Pardew’s style of play earlier in the campaign.
The support Newcastle’s fans showed Ben Arfa as he recovered from a horrific double leg break last term persuaded him to turn his loan move from Marseilles into a permanent deal which runs for another three years.
Both parties had great expectations for the coming campaign, but they have only fleetingly been met.
Ben Arfa’s inconsistency and the form of others have restricted him to just five league starts since returning from a pre-season ankle injury in late September.
His notoriously difficult character does not seem to have helped his cause.
But as a half-time substitute against Sunderland on Sunday, Ben Arfa again showed his value.
Few in the Premier League can match his flair, and the ease with which he ran past players made him look the player Gabriel Obertan was signed to be. It could earn him a start at Arsenal on Monday. That he is capable of such brilliance will only have increased Ben Arfa’s frustration at his inactivity this term.