The former Wigan manager says his number ten isn’t AWOL, he just doesn’t know exactly where he is…
Manager Steve Bruce has admitted he has “no idea” where Hatem Ben Arfa is.
Despite this, the Hull manager seems remarkably phlegmatic about the whole affair, which has seen the mercurial Ben Arfa fulfil his reputation as a troublemaker more than as a player.
“He is not Awol,” Bruce told the Times. “He could be in Paris though. I’ve no idea where he is. He could be in Hull for all I know.”
Hull have been struggling towards the bottom of the Premier League table all season, and there has been little room for the inconsistent but occasionally brilliant style of Ben Arfa so far.
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Many have blamed the destabilisation of Bruce’s side on his summer signings. Hull performed well in the league last season and reached an FA cup final with a squad of players from the British Isles.
However the addition of a variety of very talented but less commited stars, including Gaston Ramirez, Abel Hernandez and Ben Arfa himself, seems to have thrown out the balance of the squad.
Hull sit in 19th place in the Premier League, and have lost four and drawn two of their last six matches.
A depleted Tigers side will face Swansea in a crucial home tie this afternoon.