Nile Ranger arrived at Newcastle United with something of a reputation. He joined the club in the summer of 2008, from Southampton, who had released the youngster as the result of disciplinary problems. Before joining Southampton, he was kicked out of the Arsenal academy. This is clearly a kid, with something of a spotty past. Despite this ‘dark side’ or ‘youthful exuberance’ – depending on how you look at it, Nile settled down quickly at Newcastle and slowly garnered a new, positive reputation amongst fans.
Relegation for the Magpies in 2009 meant that Mark Viduka, Obafemi Martins and Michael Owen went in search of football elsewhere. Nile Ranger profited through a promotion to the first team. The following season saw Ranger make plenty of appearances for Newcastle as a substitute and score 2 goals. Newcastle earned promotion themselves and Nile Ranger became a Premier League player.
Of course, the club, still utilise him as a substitute – a player whose pace and strength can often have an effect in the last quarter of the game, when the opposition’s legs begin to tire. But, Andy Carroll’s sale in the January transfer window has seen even more pressure piled upon the 19 year old.
Unfortunately Ranger has disappointed his manager Alan Pardew and his team-mates in recent times by turning up late to training and not applying himself in the manner expected of players. Peter Lovenkrands, Nile’s Toon team-mate, speaking to the Chronicle, has admitted there are some problems with the youngster’s application:
“Nile has a lot to learn, especially in training, there are a lot of things to work on and things he needs to listen to… The senior boys can only do so much. You can say so many things – you just don’t know how much he listens to us. Hopefully, he’ll take it on board.”
If reports are correct and Nile has been turning up late to training, then something has to change. Think of the example he sets for players in the youth team, for those who dream of one day breaking through the ranks of Newcastle football club. Nothing but complete professionalism is acceptable.
Ranger may have talent (although he certainly needs to score more goals – something which I have little doubt he will add to his game as he progresses) but his lack of application is worrying. He has the support of his team-mates and his manager – for now at least – but the change has to come from him. He must show that he’s just as committed to Newcastle United’s cause as anybody else at the club. I’ve seen Nile Ranger described as ‘Balotelli without the talent’ – that may be true at the moment, but Newcastle fans would do well to remember another 19-year-old who had attitude problems (to say the least) – a Mr Andy Carroll.
At this stage, you can only sit back and hope that his attitude alters, for his sake and Newcastle’s sake alike.
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