Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew has reigned in Hatem Ben Arfa over his expected Premier League return.

Ben Arfa believes he is ready to become a regular again, and although Pardew has earmarked a centre-midfield role for the ex-Marseille man, the Toon boss warned he must bide his time.

"It is a horrible road to go down, with a long-term injury like that," he said. "He is in a good place right now.

"He has been helped by the other new French boys. He has five or six French speakers around him now.

"He likes the group and he trusts us. Now it is a matter of when he is ready. He shows flashes of brilliance in training, but I want him to do it more often in training before I bring him in.

"My view is that he can't play out wide. He has not got the relish for it and his best football comes through the middle.

"Realistically, he knows he has got more to do on the training ground. He smiles at me as if to say, 'Okay, I will play next week.'

"He has character and there are times in the coming weeks when if he has not made a start he will be kicking my door down."