Hatem Ben Arfa
Ben Arfa is hoping to be as useful to Newcastle as Eric Cantona was to Manchester United.

Hatem Ben Arfa says he is hoping to be the next Eric Cantona for the Premier League, with the Newcastle man hoping to channel the Manchester United legend as he continues to make a full comeback from injury.

Ben Arfa has had limited mentions for the Toon since recovering from a broken leg, with Alan Pardew admitting that the 24 year old has been difficult to slot into a squad that have so far kept the side in the race for Champions League qualification.

And while Ben Arfa put in a top performance for Newcastle against Sunderland at the weekend, creating numerous chances, the star says he hopes to bring to English football what Cantona did with United.

"For sure, I would like to conquer England like Cantona did," he said, as reported by the Daily Mirror.

"I see my ambitions the same now as at the start - to become one of the best. Of course I have lost a bit of time in my career, but, in my life, I have the impression I have gained some.

"Really, it is a shame that a career cannot be made between 24 and 40 years old because then I would have more chance.

"But let's see in three or four years. Then, I see myself at the top, winning for example the World Cup in Brazil or the Ballon D'Or. Because I still have lots of dreams."

Cantona featured for United in the 1990s, and has gone down in history as one of the English giants' best players, and best imports to the Premier League.

After leaving United in 1997, Cantona admitted later that being at the club was like 'being on heroin', and Ben Arfa is also clearly addicted to working at being the best at his game.

In fact, the former Lyon and Clairefontaine star admitted that the pressure to be at the top has made life difficult for him in the past, but he is now learning to relax and take games one by one.

"I think I lacked, above all, inner calm," he said. "For a long time, I was not good in my head. Everything was a shambles.

"For 10 years I have heard, 'With a talent like that, he does not have the right to fail' - as if I was programmed to succeed at all costs. Since I was 13-14, people have always said to me I should be at the top. That is tiring in a boy's head.

"I would really like to be the best player in the world. But, for now, I am not there, because I have been unhappy for a long time.

"At the age of 20, I already had a lot of money, but I had been happier when I was 12. I had too many problems to sort out inside myself.

"I had to come a long way. If I had had the inner calm that I have now, I am sure that I would not be at the level I am today but, without doubt, higher.

"It is still difficult for me to describe exactly what I was suffering from most. But since then I have kept the right distance from my circle. And I feel more at peace."