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Hatem: 'I'm Back To 100 Per Cent'

Written by Newcastle Utd

Hatem Ben Arfa speaks exclusively to nufc.co.uk on his return to Benton - and declares himself fully fit

By Dan King

A smiling Hatem Ben Arfa reported back to Benton on Wednesday morning to prepare for the new season, and he insisted that he is now "100 per cent fit" following the double-leg break which has kept him out of action since October.

The French flyer has not played since undergoing surgery on a fractured tibia and fibula of his left leg following the injury suffered against Manchester City in only his fourth game for the club.

But the 24-year-old, who scored a long-range screamer on his full debut at Everton, resumed light training towards the end of last season and has returned for pre-season training with the rest of his team-mates.

He underwent the same tests and exercises as his colleagues at the club's North Tyneside base and afterwards spoke exclusively to nufc.co.uk.

"It was a very serious injury, of course, and took a long time to recover from - but I'm 100 per cent fit now," he said.

"A lot of my recovery was done at Clairefontaine, the French football centre, where I was under the control of the doctor who did the operation back in October.

"I also came back to Newcastle for various updates with the club's medical staff here, then back to Clairefontaine to continue the recovery. And I managed to get a couple of breaks in as well, because you need that to keep the morale going.

"And now I'm no longer under the doctor, so all the hard work has paid off."

Ben Arfa could now make his first appearance in nine months when The Magpies take on Darlington in their opening pre-season friendly on July 15.

And he admitted that he is determined to make up for lost time in the upcoming campaign.

"It was a very, very difficult few months and I'm really happy that now it's all over and I can get cracking," he said. "I'm really eager to get back."

This summer, Ben Arfa has been joined by compatriots Yohan Cabaye, Sylvain Marveaux and Mehdi Abeid, as well as French-speaking Demba Ba - something which the eight-times capped Les Bleus international is happy about.

And he even helped persuade midfielder Marveaux to come to Tyneside after ten years at Rennes as the pair chatted at Clairefontaine.

"It's good for my morale that we've signed such good players from France, players that I know and that I've played against," he said. "It's going to be really good.

"I spoke to Sylvain Marveaux before he came here and it was a very good conversation. I told him it was the right place for Sylvain to come and I'm very glad he took my advice."

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