Ben Arfa boost for Newcastle

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Newcastle winger Hatem Ben Arfa trained with his team-mates for the first time since suffering an horrific double leg fracture.

The 24-year-old returned to Tyneside on Tuesday night after doing the bulk of his rehabilitation in France, and was able to warm-up with the rest of the squad on Wednesday morning before going off to work by himself once again.

Ben Arfa told the club's official website, "It is great to back in Newcastle and back with the lads."

He added: "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."

The France international has been sidelined since fracturing both his tibia and fibula in a challenge with Manchester City's Nigel de Jong on October 3 last year. He had surgery to repair the initial damage, and then a second operation after an infection threatened to cost him his leg.

Ben Arfa has called for tougher punishments on dangerous tackles

He accepted a texted apology from De Jong - who escaped without a yellow card at the time - but wants stricter measures in order to avoid a repeat.

He told Canal Plus: "I do not really understand English. But in his text, he told me he did not intend to hurt me and he was sorry. I told him it was okay, it was football.

"Anyway, the problem is that there was not even fault. I think he can get away with anything if there are no sanctions. I do not want to come down on the referees, but we still have to protect players a little more so if he wants to tackle like this again he thinks twice."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Hatem Ben Arfa
Manchester City
Premier League
Newcastle United
Nigel De Jong

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