Newcastle United’s Ben Arfa targets goals

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HATEM Ben Arfa says any goal will do for Newcastle United this season, writes Miles Starforth.

The forward netted a stunning winner against Fulham at St James’s Park a fortnight ago.

Ben Arfa’s left-footed strike underlined the talent he possesses, But the France international, set to face Aston Villa this afternoon, will be just as happy with a tap-in.

“I hope to score more goals this season,” Ben Arfa said. “Goals are important – whether they’re special or not.

“I like to score from two yards, 10 yards or 20 yards. It doesn’t matter. I am happy to score from two yards.

“The most important thing is to score for the team. It doesn’t matter if they are special or not. When you score, you can win. When you don’t score, you can’t win.”

Ben Arfa has been in international exile under coach Didier Deschamps, who he fell out with during their time together at Olympique Marseille.

The 26-year-old had been a member of France’s squad for the Euro 2012 tournament.

And there is a feeling across the Channel that Ben Arfa has been overlooked when fit at least in part because of his history with Deschamps.

However, Newcastle manager Alan Pardew feels there is a way back for Ben Arfa – if he can add more consistency to his game.

Pardew said: “That’s what we are searching for with Hatem, a little bit more consistency in terms of him winning games, whether it’s an assist or a goal.

“He has fantastic quality. He is a player the fans love, and he certainly got everybody out of their seats the last time.

“But we need a little bit more than that, more from him, more of those moments.

“I think he would be the first to admit that that’s the year he needs if he is going to break into the French team.”