Ben Arfa: Newcastle fans have given me more confidence than ever

The France international believes he has matured as a player following his lengthy injury absence, and wants to reward Magpies supporters by entertaining them on the pitch
Hatem Ben Arfa has revealed he is "very happy" at Newcastle, claiming the club's fans have helped him become more confident than ever before.

The France international initially joined the Magpies on a season-long loan from Marseille in 2010, but suffered a broken leg having made just four appearances.

Despite that blow, the Tyneside club still proceeded to sign the 25-year-old on a permanent deal, and he has since repaid that faith with some impressive showings.

"I feel very happy in Newcastle, I feel welcome, I feel loved here. I love the city. I love it when the fans come to meet me,” he told the Independent.

"This is the most confident I have been given in my career and I want to do well for the club and the fans. I have realised that it is 30 per cent talent and the rest is hard work. Here in the Premier League you have to be very strong first. After that you can play."

The former Clairefontaine trainee went on to express his belief that the experience of his career-threatening injury has contributed to his development as a player.

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He added: "You're in hospital and in pain, and you see football on the television; it is very difficult. But I learned from it as well.

"I think there is a reason I had that experience, maybe to learn more. I am happy to have had that experience today – but not then. I can be philosophical about it now.

Ben Arfa also recalled an assist for Yohan Cabaye earlier in the season as an example of his new mature attitude, explaining: "Against Liverpool, in the first 30 minutes, I lost every ball. When I was younger, if that had happened after 30 minutes, I would have lost confidence. Now, I keep going, it is my responsibility."

The Frenchman, who has won over supporters with his ability to beat players, also insisted he feels it is his duty to entertain the fans.

"It was in Newcastle and all the stadium saw the goal. I am very happy about that. I like to do a trick, to do something different. Here I have the confidence to do that. I want to give the fans something back,” he continued.

"It is a job but I love what I am doing and I enjoy it every day. It is very important to enjoy. Of course you have to win but the fans want to see something special as well. I want to give them pleasure.”