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Stoke 19:45 Newcastle

Ben Arfa thrilled to be back

Toon winger 'dying to play' after cup outing

By Patrick Haond.   Last Updated: 21/09/11 10:37am

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Ben Arfa: Featured for the first time in nearly 12 months against Forest

Ben Arfa: Featured for the first time in nearly 12 months against Forest

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Newcastle winger Hatem Ben Arfa relished making his comeback against Nottingham Forest in the Carling Cup after returning to full fitness.

The Frenchman featured in the Magpies' starting XI for the first time in nearly 12 months at the City Ground on Tuesday night following two spells on the sidelines with injury.

He suffered a sickening leg injury against Manchester City following a Nigel de Jong challenge last October, while an ankle problem picked up in pre-season has frustrated his start to the current campaign.

Ben Arfa produced an encouraging performance and lasted 70 minutes of the encounter against Forest as Newcastle prevailed with a 4-3 victory after extra-time.

The 24-year-old, who joined the Magpies from Marseille in the summer of 2010, enjoyed his run out and hopes manager Alan Pardew will continue to involve him.

Wonderful

"I counted the hours before kick-off on Wednesday," Ben Arfa told Le Parisien.

"I really endured a difficult year last year and being back on the pitch is a wonderful feeling. I missed competition so much. I am living again!

"I have no more pain, absolutely nothing.

"Now it is up to the coach to make his choices. I believe may be he will incorporate me step by step.

"I feel ready to play each match. I am dying to play."

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