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Newcastle's Hatem Ben Arfa feels his lengthy injury lay-off made him stronger

Image: Hatem Ben Arfa: Feels stronger after his successful return from a lengthy injury lay-off

Newcastle midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa admits he feared for his career after breaking his leg but feels stronger as a result of the injury setback.


He added: "Young footballers are selfish. I was selfish. It was all about me and what I did. When you are young you think about showing off, you always want to prove yourself, to be the centre of attention. "You want people to say you are the best, but as you get older you realise it's a team game and to bring out the best in yourself, you have to put yourself at the service of the team. "I'm arriving at my peak, I'm starting to realise my full potential. I don't think I'm quite there yet, but I'm pleased with how things are going. I'm a better player now than when I signed for Newcastle. "I'm more mature as a person and more mature as a footballer. The two go hand in hand, the basis of the player is the person. I've grown up." The midfielder feels some credit must go to Toon manager Alan Pardew for his newfound maturity, adding: "I've not had a close relationship with a manager before "He knows when I need to be praised and when I need to be criticised. "He asks me questions. He doesn't let me do what I want, but he doesn't just tell me what to do either. "It's the best relationship I've had with a manager and he has been very important to me at Newcastle. He is the coach who has understood me the most."