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Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has urged Hatem Ben Arfa to take his chance and fill the gap in the starting XI left by Yohan Cabaye’s departure.
The winger has been in and out of the team all season but he did start in the 0-0 draw against Norwich on Tuesday and also the derby clash with Sunderland on Saturday.
Ben Arfa now has the opportunity to fill Cabaye’s boots long term after his fellow Frenchman joined Paris Saint-Germain for £20million.
In recent years, Ben Arfa has shown his potential at St James’ Park but his progress has been halted by a number of injuries.
Pardew has admitted that losing Cabaye was a blow but he is hoping Ben Arfa takes the opportunity with both hands.
He told Sky Sports: “I have said to him, ‘You have been waiting and you have been patient’, because he has conducted himself well in and around the building and his temperament has been great.
“Now his time has come and, in football, you have to take the moment when it arrives. It’s a blow to lose Cabaye, and I think we are all aware of losing that creative influence
“But we need to lean on other members of our staff if we don’t get a replacement, those creative influences who have been on the sidelines.”
Newcastle take on Chelsea next weekend and are outsiders at 7.75 to cause an upset by taking all three points.