Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Nile Ranger: Shape up or ship out

Nile Ranger this week received a stern public message from his manager Alan Pardew which basically said shape up or ship out.

Nile Joined the club as a free agent in July 2008 as part of the Dennis Wise push to bring in young talent. He arrived with a bad reputation after being released by Southampton for a breech of club discipline. Southampton had already given Nile a second chance after he was sentenced to 11 weeks at a young offenders institute for his involvement in a robbery.

Nile arrived at NUFC with the chance to rebuild his young career at a massive club. Many thought that the move out of London away from all the bad influences would be a ideal move for him. This looked like it was the perfect move and Ranger settled in well at Newcastle. He scored a bag full of goals at the junior level and was quickly promoted to the reserve squad. This promising form led to him being awarded the 'Wor Jackie Milburn trophy' in 2009 which highlighted him as the clubs best up and coming player.

This also signaled the arrival of Ranger into the first team squad - the United fans were not aware of this young hot shot and expected big things in the future. Newcastle's relegation meant the likes of Owen, Martins and Viduka left the club. Andy Carroll was our new goal scorer and Nile was promoted to the bench behind Carroll and Ameobi. His debut came in August and he went on to make 25 appearance (mostly from the bench) and scored 2 goals in Newcastle's championship winning season.

Ranger remained in the first team squad as the club returned to the premiership and he has continued to be used as an impact player who can come on for the last 15-20 minutes and cause havoc for defenders due to his physical strength and pace. Many have commented that Ranger is further along in his progress as a footballer than Andy Carroll was at the same age. That remains to be seen, however I will add that Ranger really needs to start hitting the back of the net. He has the raw potential, but as a striker he will be judged on goals.

However Nile needs to become more professional and really get his act together off the field. He long needs to look around the club for good examples to follow - Kevin Nolan, Shola Ameobi - both great professionals. Team mate Peter Lovenkrands has these words of warning for Ranger:
"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."

He is just a young lad and I am sure he is no different to any of us at that age, but he really needs to knuckle down and take his career seriously. We would all give our right arm to be in his position and I just hope Nile does not blow his great opportunity because I believe he has the ability to go far at Newcastle - we really could have a big player on our hands.

Ranger: Get it together son