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Africans in the Premier League: Season Review

Football
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Pardew: Ben Arfa must improve fitness

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has warned Hatem Ben Arfa to improve his fitness and work harder to return if he wants to get back into the first-team.

Ben Arfa, 25, has been out of action since December 10 with a hamstring injury, but his recovery has been hindered by setbacks which have seen him pull out of last Sunday's Premier League clash with Southampton and now this weekend's trip to Swansea.

A disappointed Pardew admits that he has been unimpressed by the Frenchman's fitness and hopes that he shows some desire to get back quickly.

"I have to say his conditioning has disappointed me this week, and we will be working hard in the next few days to get him up to speed because he lacks a bit of fitness, for sure," Pardew said.

"I just think it's something we need to push him on at. His upper body strength is there, but we want to work on his general fitness. I think that needs to improve.''

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