Pardew: Hatem’s got X-Factor

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew is full of praise for French

playmaker Hatem Ben Arfa after insisting he gives United the


Pardew has singled out Ben Arfa as being Newcastle’s best player

so far this season, and he is delighted with how he has


Ben Arfa was Pardew’s first signing when he took charge in 2010

and he could not be happier with how he is now performing.

“I’ve only ever worked with three or four players, as a manager,

with that kind of ability, so I was keen to work with him.” Pardew


“Hatem has been our best player this season.

“He’s single-minded and focused about being a professional

footballer and a lot of players could learn from him in terms of

that. He’s still a maverick, though, and that’s the beauty of


“You never quite know what he’s going to do. He gives you an

X-factor about your team. That’s important at this level.

“I don’t think there are many players with that X-factor, if I’m

honest, but Hatem is one of them.

“Fergie said to me that the two best trainers he ever had were

Eric Cantona and Cristiano Ronaldo. That says it all.

“You have to manage every player slightly differently and

experience sometimes helps.

“I’m not sure that when I first came into the game I would have

coped quite as well with him. So experience has helped. When you

have had Tevez and Mascherano, Zamora, Sheringham and Darren Bent –

I’ve had some very good players in my camp – Hatem is right up