Newcastle attacker Hatem Ben Arfa is ‘very happy’ at the club, saying the side’s fans have helped him become more confident.
The France international initially joined Newcastle on a season-long loan from Marseille in 2010, but suffered a broken leg having made just four appearances.
Despite that blow, Newcastle still proceeded to sign the 25-year-old on a permanent deal, and he has since repaid that faith with some impressive showings.
“I feel very happy in Newcastle, I feel welcome, I feel loved here. I love the city. I love it when the fans come to meet me,” he told The Independent.
“This is the most confident I have been given in my career and I want to do well for the club and the fans. I have realised that it is 30 percent talent and the rest is hard work. Here in the Premier League you have to be very strong first. After that you can play.”
Ben Arfa said he believed the experience of his career-threatening injury has contributed to his development as a player.
“You’re in hospital and in pain, and you see football on the television – it is very difficult. But I learned from it as well,” he said.
“I think there is a reason I had that experience, maybe to learn more. I am happy to have had that experience today – but not then. I can be philosophical about it now.”
Ben Arfa also recalled an assist for Yohan Cabaye earlier in the season as an example of his new mature attitude.
“Against Liverpool, in the first 30 minutes, I lost every ball. When I was younger, if that had happened after 30 minutes, I would have lost confidence. Now, I keep going, it is my responsibility,” he said.