Alan Pardew has hailed Hatem Ben Arfa's performances as 'fantastic', with the winger continuing to help the side reach higher heights than any critic had expected at the start of the season.

After joining the Toon in the 2010 summer, Ben Arfa's qualities were obvious, and the north eastern club made a permanent move for the Frenchman the following January.

Despite taking over a season out to heal from a broken leg, Ben Arfa has shown he was well worth the time and money since his return to the Newcastle fold, and after the 25 year old scored against Bolton, Pardew believes he might be good enough for the France team come the 2012 Euros.

Hatem Ben Arfa
Hatem Ben Arfa's goal for Newcastle at the weekend was top of the highlights reel.

"I think the goal at Blackburn was probably better, if I'm honest. But this one is going to be Premier League coverage," Pardew told Sky Sports.

"He is going to get what he deserves for this goal, because, the last one, he did not get enough coverage for that goal.

"Hopefully it will edge the French manager to include him in the French squad, because he is desperate to get in that.

"He showed that today. Not just his goal, but his performance, his work-rate. It was fantastic."

Ben Arfa's performances have no doubt had a big part in Newcastle's success this season, with the club currently closing in on Tottenham for fourth place in the Premier League table.

And though Pardew has been working hard to keep a lid on all the hype surrounding the possibility of Champions League football returning to St James' Park, the manager is now admitting that they are aiming to make a play for Europe.

"I said all along that if we can get to the last six games and be in and around, we will give it a go," he explained.

"That is what our fans want to see us do - an honest commitment to win the game. That is what we have done all year.

"It has got us where we are now. We are not going to get carried away by it."

Newcastle look ahead to facing Stoke this week, with Wigan and Chelsea away for the club, while Tottenham face both the latter sides at home. The Chelsea match-up will be particularly important for Newcastle, with both clubs on the edge of the top four and within a game of Spurs.