Ben Arfa stays on Tyneside
NEWCASTLE'S medical staff will oversee Hatem Ben Arfa's recovery from the double leg break that led to Nigel de Jong being expelled from the Holland squad for this weekend's Euro 2012 qualifiers. Ben Arfa underwent surgery at Manchester Royal Infirmary yesterday morning after suffering a broken tibia and fibula in his left leg during Sunday's 2-1 defeat at Manchester City. The French midfielder, who will be sidelined for up to six months, is on a season-long loan from Marseilles, and in previous cases involving long-term injuries, a number of players have been sent back to their parent club to complete their recovery. Ben Arfa will remain on Tyneside, however, with Newcastle keen to manage the recuperation of a player who is still expected to join on a permanent basis next summer. Hatem's a smashing lad with great character and bags of determination, said Magpies manager Chris Hughton. With the help of our medical team and backroom staff, I am sure he will make a full and speedy recovery. I am absolutely devastated for Hatem. To get injured at any time is bad enough, but to suffer such a horrendous injury as a double leg break is sickening for the lad. After playing only a handful of games for us, scoring a cracking goal at Everton and doing fantastically well, it's a cruel and devastating blow for Hatem, and the club as a whole. All the lads are devastated for him as well. I know many of them have already been in touch with him to check he's doing okay, and that's great. On the plus side, I am delighted to hear from the hospital that the operation was successful and now it's just a case of nursing him back to fitness. Ben Arfa's injury was the result of a reckless challenge from de Jong, who wrapped his legs around his opponent after clattering in to him at speed. The Dutchman was involved in a tackle that broke American midfielder Stuart Holden's leg during the World Cup finals, and courted controversy when he kicked Xabi Alonso in the chest during the final in South Africa. Bert van Marwijk defended de Jong on that occasion, but having watched a replay of Sunday's incident, the Holland coach has opted to axe the 25-year-old from his squad for matches against Moldova and Sweden. I've seen it (the tackle) on TV, said van Marwijk. It was a wild and unnecessary challenge. I don't think he did it on purpose, but he goes in way too hard in this challenge. That's a pity, because he doesn't need tackles like this. The strange thing is that the referee doesn't give a card. Apparently there are other standards over there. I have a problem with the way Nigel unnecessarily searches for the limit. I just told the players I told them that I saw no other option. In the future, I will agree with Nigel to talk. Now, I want the staff and players to concentrate on the next two important qualifiers. Newcastle's players were aware of the seriousness of Ben Arfa's injury as soon as it was sustained, but Mike Williamson admits it is impossible to avoid such incidents in a contact sport such as football. Everybody knows how long things like that can take (to recover from), and everyone will feel for him, said the defender. Unfortunately, things like that happen, it's an occupational hazard. Hopefully, he gets back soon. It's a big loss to the team and to the person as well. It's a massive blow and our thoughts are with him. We all wish him a speedy recovery and hope he can get back to where he has been. He's been a great asset for us.
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