‘Frustrated’ Ben Arfa: I don’t want to quit Newcastle

HATEM BEN ARFA ... training with Newcastle United's reserves.
HATEM BEN ARFA ... training with Newcastle United's reserves.
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HATEM Ben Arfa says he’s “sad and frustrated” at Newcastle United – but he insists he does NOT want to quit the club.

Ben Arfa was left out of manager Alan Pardew’s squad for Monday night’s game at Arsenal despite being fit.

And the 27-year-old has told of his frustration at a lack of first-team opportunities this season.

But Ben Arfa is adamant he doesn’t want to leave St James’s Park.

“If the manager says to me he doesn’t believe in me for next season, I respect that, but I want to stay,” said Ben Arfa.

“But if the president (owner Mike Ashley) wants to sell me, I have to go.

“I want to stay here even if the manager doesn’t believe in me, because I will show him I can play here.

“I love playing football here. I enjoy training. I just want to play. I’m fit. I’m not injured. I don’t have an injury. I’m ready to play. I want to play.

“I feel sad and frustrated, but not angry. I want to help my team and I can’t. It hurts a lot.”

Ben Arfa’s comments will pile more pressure on under-fire Pardew ahead of Saturday’s home game against Cardiff City, when ninth-placed Newcastle will attempt to end a six-game Premier League losing run.

“When I see we are losing games 3-0, 4-0, it is very hard for me and I’m on the bench,” said Ben Arfa.

“If I was involved on Saturday against Cardiff, I think I could make a difference. I would like to try.

“I do what the manager wants. If he doesn’t want me to play, I respect it.”

Ben Arfa remains a hugely-popular figure among fans, who chanted his name at the Emirates Stadium.

“It makes me believe in myself when the supporters sing my name,” he said. “It’s a really positive thing. I hope to stay here, but it’s not my decision.

“My dream for 12 months’ time is to be in the top four with Newcastle – to get to the Champions League or to win a cup.”