Magpies coach not happy with his mercurial France playmaker.
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew says that key midfield player Hatem Ben Arfa is still not fit enough to start a match for the North-East club, reports the Daily Mirror.
The France international is currently recovering from a hamstring injury that he sustained on Dec 10, with Pardew confirming that he would only be eligible for a “cameo” role in their Premier League encounter at Swansea City this weekend.
“Hatem’s conditioning has disappointed me this week. He lacks a bit of fitness. It is something we need to push on. His upper body strength is there but his general fitness needs to improve,” Pardew said.
“My gut feeling is that I’ll take him to Swansea but he will work when he’s with me and he’ll work hard. Really and truly if I do decide to use him, it will be a ten minute cameo.
“I think it was pretty close to deciding to attach it again with an operation. That is how bad it was. We took the option not to do that, probably in the long term that was the best decision because you do not want to have surgery at any time really. That is why it has taken so long. I remember seeing a picture of it and it was a complete bleed in the whole leg so he had a lot of fluids and bad stuff in there.
“His conditioning has to go up the levels now and he’s aware of that. He’s been protecting his hamstrings. It’s now a question of trying to get that work in. So the message I am giving the fans is don’t expect too much here. This guy, where I thought perhaps he could start on Thursday, I don’t think he can physically. But we are pushing him. We’re going to push him for Thursday if we can.
“There is no blame attached to him. I am not being critical of him. I am just telling our fans because I know our fans are like ‘let’s get Hatem in the team,’ and he ain’t ready.”