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Oct 5, 2010

Enrique calls for lengthy De Jong ban

Hatem Ben Arfa's Newcastle team-mate Jose Enrique has insisted that Nigel de Jong should be banned from football until the midfielder recovers from his broken leg.

• Forum: Right to drop De Jong?
• Lowe: De Jong tackle devoid of intent • Ben Arfa surgery a success
• Kidd defends De Jong over tackle
• Van Marwijk had 'no option'

De Jong's challenge broke Ben Arfa break leg in two places on Sunday and Enrique believes that the Dutchman's punishment should match the time Ben Arfa has to spend on the sidelines - reported to be at least half of the season.

''They should ban De Jong until Ben Arfa can play again,'' he told the Daily Mail. ''De Jong shouldn't be allowed to play football. His tackle was criminal. He already injured another player (Stuart Holden) last season. If it was Rooney who was injured instead of Ben Arfa, they would make an example of him.''

De Jong has been dropped by Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk for the upcoming Euro 2012 qualifiers against Sweden and Moldova and Enrique thinks that that is the right decision.

''I think it's very good that the Holland coach has left him out of the squad,'' said Enrique. ''But Newcastle have been left with just two wingers until the January transfer window. It's hurt us.

''The referee (Martin Atkinson) was laughable - the worst I have seen. He didn't even give a foul for the challenge. De Jong is one of those players who walks a tightrope every time he plays. As far as I know, he didn't even come to say sorry after the match.''

Meanwhile, Ben Arfa has vowed to stay positive on his long road back to fitness.

"I'll be back. I will be working hard to play again in a black-and-white shirt and to perform again for the brilliant Newcastle fans,'' he told the Chronicle. "It will be a long road back, but I have to stay positive."

Ben Arfa's advisor Simon Stainrod claimed the Frenchman is obviously upset by the injury, but praised his reaction as he was carried off the pitch on a stretcher.

"Hatem is in bits over the injury, but he will look to get his operation out of the way and then it's the road back to recovery,'' Stainrod said. ''He will be doing all of his rehab at Newcastle and hopes to be back as quickly as possible. That's the sort of lad he is.

"It just shows his character when he sits up and claps the fans as he goes off. It shows the feeling he has for the Newcastle fans, and I don't think that many players would have done that in that situation."

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