Newcastle United’s Hatem Ben Arfa could be a club legend, says boss Alan Pardew

Hatem Ben Arfa scored a wonder goal against Blackburn.

Hatem Ben Arfa scored a wonder goal against Blackburn.

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HATEM Ben Arfa has the ability to become a “legend” at Newcastle United – if he backs up his talent with hard graft.

That’s the verdict of manager Alan Pardew, who could hand Ben Arfa a start at Fulham on Saturday.

Pardew was impressed with the explosive forward when he came off the bench in last weekend’s win 1-0 over Queens Park Rangers, the club’s third successive victory.

The 24-year-old had scored a stunning goal against Blackburn Rovers in the previous game, but that strike wasn’t enough to earn him a starting place against Mark Hughes’s side.

However, an injury to midfielder Yohan Cabaye saw him come off the bench in the first-half, and having upped his workrate, Ben Arfa’s pushing for a start at Craven Cottage.

“The challenge is for Hatem to get in this team,” Pardew told SportMail.

Read more about Pardew’s thoughts, plus the latest on Newcastle United’s new signing Papiss Demba Cisse, in today’s Sportmail.