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The talented Frenchman has returned to fitness following his leg break in 2010, and is fully behind Alan Pardew despite his limited opportunities this season in the north-east

Newcastle United attacker Hatem Ben Arfa has insisted that he has matured as a player on Tyneside, and that he is fully behind manager Alan Pardew.

The 24-year-old has struggled to command a first-team place for the Magpies since his return from a year on the sidelines with a double leg fracture, but recent cameos have shown his undoubted quality, including a sensational individual goal against Blackburn in the FA Cup last week.

Ben Arfa sustained the injury at the hands of Manchester City's Nigel de Jong in October 2010, but the Frenchman believes that time away from the limelight has helped him grow as a player.

"It did me good not to be seen for a year," Ben Arfa told L'Equipe.

"It just gave me time to move on and mature.

"It's my only fear now, not having enough time to do all that I want to achieve, not being able to show what I'm worth. Because I've wasted a lot of time!"

A product of the national footballing academy at Clairefontaine, Ben Arfa was hailed as a great hope of French football upon making his breakthrough to the Lyon first team.

However, his time at the Stade Gerland turned sour and he gained a reputation for being difficult to work, a stigma which followed him to Marseille.

"I did terrible things during my career, which weren't normal or morally good," he admitted.

"It happened everywhere I went, in Clairefontaine, in Lyon. Since I was very small I've been very impulsive, I fought all the time. With hindsight, I understand that I could have been perceived as someone too sure of himself. I gave off negative vibes, I had bad energy."

There have been suggestions that Ben Arfa is growing frustrated with the limited opportunities he has been given at the Sports Direct Arena so far this season, but the Frenchman is prepared to bide his time under Pardew.

"I'm always frustrated when I'm not playing but instead of clashing with the coach like before I let it go because I know I'll lose.

"I'm going to submit to his (Pardew) authority … I'm not going to go looking for a fight. My time will come. I have to be patient.

"I want to make the fans, the French people happy. I no longer see things in a black way, but positive. Today I can look at myself in the mirror."

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