PARIS (AFP) –
Hatem Ben Arfa’s outstanding season with Newcastle United earned him a call-up by France coach Laurent Blanc on Wednesday when he named the 12 foreign-based players he will take to the European Championship.
Ben Arfa, whose Newcastle team-mate Yohan Cabaye has also been selected after a fine debut season following his move from Lille, has not played for France since winning his eighth cap in a friendly in August 2010.
However, his chances to play again under Blanc took a serious blow when he suffered a broken tibia later in 2010 but his form this campaign including some wonderful goals for Newcastle which has seen them challenge for a Champions League spot has returned him to favour.
“I believe that he has reached a new level, both as much as a player as a person,” said Blanc.
“He is more mature, he is conscious of his talent but that he has to transfer it into benefiting his team and not just for himself.
“These players (like Ben Arfa) who are extremely talented find it hard to think that they are so good.
“I think that they are in the process of getting to grips with it.
“When they work both for their team and when they express themselves in attack they often make a difference.
“It is what has happened to him in the past three months at Newcastle (where he has scored six times and created five goals).”
Ben Arfa has been reunited with his fellow ‘golden generation’ of players born in 1987 and later part of the team that won the European Under-17 championship, Karim Benzema and Samir Nasri
Paris Saint Germain star Jeremy Menez is likely to be named by Blanc next week when he announces his 12 France-based players.
Blanc left out of the squad veteran strikers Djibril Cisse – who has had a poor spell at QPR marked by two sendings off – and the injury-prone Louis Saha.
Euro 2012 kicks off on June 8 in Warsaw with the July 1 final in Kiev.
Foreign-based players selected
Philippe Mexes (AC Milan/ITA), Adil Rami (Valencia/ESP), Patrice Evra (Manchester United/ENG), Gael Clichy (Manchester City/ENG), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal/ENG), Younes Kaboul (Tottenham/ENG), Florent Malouda (Chelsea/ENG), Samir Nasri (Manchester City/ENG), Hatem Ben Arfa (Newcastle/ENG), Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle/ENG), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich/GER), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid/ESP).