Pards: Hatem not ready for Prem

Midweek Sport - - SPORT - By JOHN WAR­DLE

HATEM BEN ARFA is back in the shad­ows at New­cas­tle United.

And the French in­ter­na­tional is in dan­ger of stay­ing there un­less he wises up to life in the Premier League.

The mid­fielder has still not con­vinced man­ager Alan Pardew that he is equipped to han­dle the pace and power of the English game.

And that puts the pair on a col­li­sion course if the tem­per­a­men­tal Ben Arfa can­not win back his place in the side.

Ben Arfa was sub­sti­tuted af­ter only 45 min­utes of the Toon’s 2-0 win at Black­burn last week and he didn’t play in the vic­tory over As­ton Villa on Sun­day.

Pardew said yes­ter­day: “Hatem still hasn’t quite grasped, in my opin­ion, this Premier League.

“He has got un­be­liev­able tal­ent, there’s no doubt about it, but he’s not used to it.

“He’s got to fight now to get in this team.”

Toon keeper Tim Krul, who pulled off sev­eral fine saves against Villa, has saluted the im­pact of new sign­ing Papiss Cisse, scorer of the win­ning goal against Villa on his de­but. Krul said: “He did the No.9 shirt jus­tice with that goal.

“But we were a solid team again – we had to help each other out.

“We’ve got the ex­tra qual­ity now on the pitch and we can grind out re­sults. It’s amaz­ing.

“We’ve done it all sea­son. The char­ac­ter from the team has been amaz­ing – head­ers, clear­ances and fan­tas­tic goals from the two boys up front.”

STRUG­GLING: Ben Arfa

WARN­ING: Boyce

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