Hatem Ben Arfa

By Anthony Marshall

 

This is the sight all Newcastle fans want to see - Hatem Ben Arfa back on the training pitch.

The French international attacker has been sidelined for the past six months with a broken leg but made his return to the Club on Tuesday morning, having jetted back in from his homeland late on Monday night.

Ben Arfa took part in a warm-up with the rest of the squad at their Benton-based Training Centre, before doing a series of running and ball work exercises away from the main group but under the supervision of United's medical staff.

The 24-year-old signed on loan from Marseille last summer and made only four appearances before suffering a double leg break in the away fixture against Manchester City at the start of October.

However, in that short time he made a huge impression on everyone associated with Newcastle - no more so than with a stunning long-range winner away at Everton.

And such was Ben Arfa's impact that the Club moved to make his spell in the North-East permanent in January, as he signed a four-and-a-half year contract to keep him at St. James' Park until the summer of 2015.

Ben Arfa told nufc.co.uk: "It is great to back in Newcastle and back with the lads.

"I joined in with the warm-up this morning and managed to do a bit of light training on my own, and it was good to see the rest of the players after such a long time.

"I will be continuing to follow my rehabilitation programme now I am back in Newcastle, and would like to thank the fans for their support while I have been out injured.

"It has been a difficult period without football, but I am pleased with how my recovery has gone and look forward to pulling on a black and white shirt again and getting back onto the St. James' Park pitch."

Hatem Ben Arfa