Alan Pardew delighted with improving Newcastle midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa

 

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew once again urged France boss Laurent Blanc to take a look at Hatem Ben Arfa as he prepares to pick his Euro 2012 squad.

The winger turned in another fleet-footed display to help the Magpies to a 2-0 Barclays Premier League victory over Liverpool and leave his manager purring.

Pardew, who nursed the Frenchman back from an horrendous double leg fracture, said: "When you have a player who has a special talent, sometimes they look at you as a manager and they want to play.

"He wasn't fit. He had worked really, really hard, but he wasn't actually match-fit.

"He was fit, but not match-fit, not really sure of how we played and in the Premier League, the transition of play, where he should be and where he shouldn't be.

"He has taken on board and he has listened to me and he as listened to my staff and he has been very, very diligent.

"That's why nothing would give me more pleasure than for him to make the French squad, and I think he can.

"He has got some individual ability that I would be very surprised if France has that in the squad in terms of what he can do to a team.

"Even if he was to be taken as an impact player, he's got a great opportunity and he is in great shape."

It was Ben Arfa who helped the set the ball rolling for Newcastle when he produced a superb run before delivering the perfect cross to the far post for Cisse to head them in front with his sixth goal in seven games.

The Senegal international made it seven 14 minutes after the break when he calmly stepped inside keeper Pepe Reina to slot home for close range.

Reina pressed the self-destruct button with nine minutes remaining when he was sent off for head-butting defender James Perch, in the process ruling himself out of the FA Cup semi-final clash with Everton later this month.

On a day when Cisse, a £10million January singing from Freiburg eclipsed £35million former Magpie Andy Carroll on his return to Tyneside, it was Pardew wearing the broadest smile.

Asked about the way the club had invested the proceeds of Carroll's then controversial sale, he said: "You don't always get it right, but we managed to get that right.

"We have got some great players here - and actually, some of the players I inherited were the ones who won us the game today.

"[Mike] Williamson and [James] Perch were probably the two best players on the pitch and if we owe victory to any particular players today, it was probably those two."

Opposite number Kenny Dalglish had no complaints over Reina's dismissal or Carroll's four-letter departure down the tunnel when he was substituted 11 minutes from time.

He said: "Maybe the frustration and disappointment, it's up to us to harness that properly and work on it and take it as a positive because if they start to enjoy losing games, we will have a problem."

From the Evening Standard: Alan Pardew puts big spenders to shame, writes Patrick Barclay

PA

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