Newcastle United’s Hatem Ben Arfa keen to start more games as Manchester United come to Toon

TALENTED ... Hatem Ben Arfa scored a stunning goal against Blackburn.
TALENTED ... Hatem Ben Arfa scored a stunning goal against Blackburn.
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HATEM Ben Arfa has told of his frustration at a lack of starts at Newcastle United.

Ben Arfa says he is “saddened” not to have played more football for the club this season - but the forward also insists he’s willing to be patient as he waits for opportunities.

The 24-year-old has made Alan Pardew’s starting XI for just three Premier League games so far this season.

And Ben Arfa could again be on the bench when Newcastle take on Manchester United at home tonight (kick-off 7.45pm).

“I’m a competitor and I want to play every game, every minute,” said Ben Arfa.

“The manager knows what I’m thinking. He knows I want to play. He makes his choices and I have to respect them.”

Pardew has earmarked Ben Arfa for a leading role when top-scorer Demba Ba leaves for the African Cup of Nations.

And Newcastle’s manager feels Ben Arfa – who missed the bulk of last season after suffering a double leg break – needs to up his workrate to earn a regular starting place in the second half of the season.

“We have Man United coming and we have to see if he can make an impact in that game,” Pardew told SportMail.

Read more about the build-up to tonight’s big match beetween Newcastle and Manchester United in today’s Sportmail.