Newcastle United footballer Hatem Ben Arfa believes his improved attitude will help him gain a position in Franceâ€˜s national team for the upcoming European Club Championships in Poland and the Ukraine. The 25-year-old winger and attacking midfielder was cut from the national squad for Euro 2008 and complete left out for World Cup 2010 by former coach Raymond Domenech But to be fair, Domenech treated several players quite harshly, and left off such notables as Karim Benzema and Samir Nasri as well, ahead of a disastrous World Cup tourney for the French.
Ben Arfa was born in a suburb of Paris. His father, Kamel Ben Arfa, is a former Tunisian international footballer. Kamel arrived in France in 1973 settling to work in a foundry. He later starred for a local club. After Hatem was born, Kamel discovered that his son had an interest in football at the age of five and with guidance from a sports journalist and agent Michel Ouazin, Ben Arfa began his career as a football player.
He has played for a couple of giants of French football, Lyon and Marseilles, before moving on to Newcastle of the English Premier League in 2010. Ben Arfa was first called up to the national team in October of 2007 for a UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying match against the Faroe Islands. He made his debut in that match and also scored his first goal in a 6â€“0 win.
His move to Newcastle followed a troubled spell at Marseille where he fell out with coach Didier Deschamps. Once described as â€œone of the best-rated talents in France,â€ Ben Arfa has oft been criticized for a lack of discipline. However, Ben Arfa points to his improvement and hopes it will improve his chances of being selected. â€œI am more peaceful now,â€ Ben Arfa told reporters at Franceâ€™s training camp in Clairefontaine, France. â€œI make more efforts for the others. Every failure makes you grow. I have evolved and at 25 I think Iâ€™m more mature than when I was 20.â€
France manager Laurent Blanc must reduce his current squad to 23 by May 29 and Ben Arfa has stated he is ready for whatever decision the coach makes. â€œObviously you wonder what is going to happen but I have no hunch. I just hope I will be in the squad. â€œI still remember the shocks of 2008 and 2010. If it has to happen, I will adapt.â€
France will play England in their opening game of the European Championships on the June 11, with Sweden and co-hosts Ukraine also drawn alongside them in Group D. Euro 2012 runs from June 8th thru July 1st.