Former Arsenal and France star Emmanuel Petit is desperate for Hatem Ben Arfa to keep his place in Didier Deschamps’ squad between now and the Euro 2016 finals.
The 28-year-old has been in impressive form for Nice this season, scoring seven times in 12 Ligue 1 appearances to help his side into the top eight.
Ben Arfa’s form has seen him rewarded with a call-up to the France squad for the friendly matches with world champions Germany and England.
And Petit believes the former Newcastle United man brings a more direct attacking quality to the national set-up, something France have been lacking due to the long-term injury suffered by Lyon star Nabil Fekir.
“When I see what Ben Arfa is doing, I am not even surprised [by his call-up],” Petit told Omnisport. “It saddens me that a player like him could miss the Euros. I wish him to keep the same level of performance.
“Fekir is injured and out for months. Do you know many French players who can get the ball and dribble past three players when defences are tight ? It’s difficult. It’s good to have a different profile to improve the team and I think Ben Arfa is like that.”
Ben Arfa’s form this season is a welcome change to a career which has so far been disrupted by injuries and problems with his temperament, both on and off the field.
Deschamps stated earlier this week that there are no lingering issues between himself and the player he coached during his time with Marseille and expects him to make a decisive contribution.
“Hatem has enjoyed a very good start to the season and it is good to have him back with the national team,” Deschamps said.
“I do not have any problems with Hatem. We disagreed on one point and I was wrong there.
“He has the ability to make the difference with one move.”