Nile Ranger targets further first-team action

NILE Ranger started the season dreaming of being Newcastle United’s top scorer, but while the 19-year-old has had to tone down his ambitions, they still lie at St James’ Park.

Nile Ranger
Nile Ranger

NILE Ranger started the season dreaming of being Newcastle United’s top scorer, but while the 19-year-old has had to tone down his ambitions, they still lie at St James’ Park.

The striker has been linked with no end of loans to Championship clubs this season, a good indication of his potential.

But he had to wait until Saturday for his Premier League debut, a six-minute substitute appearance as Newcastle successfully chased a point at home to Wigan Athletic. Adding to that is now his top priority. “My ambition this season was to be the club’s top goalscorer,” said Ranger, a fringe player in last season’s Championship.

“But failing that, to get a few Premier League games under my belt and try and pin a place down in the first team.

“I got back for pre-season and got my head down and worked hard. Since then I’ve got a couple of reserve games and League Cup games where I played well.

“I’m on the fringes but I’m not too sure where I stand. I’m just waiting for my chance really and it is up to me to take it when it comes.

“Hopefully I’ll get a few more games under my belt this season, like I did in the Championship last season. The team is strong and I’ll just have to wait my turn. I don’t want anybody to get injured but I’ll be ready if I’m called upon.” Ranger performed well in pre-season, but has been frustrated by manager Chris Hughton’s preference for a lone striker. On Saturday he picked two centre-forwards for the first time.

“Only time will tell if I can play up front together with (first-choice) Andy Carroll,” commented Ranger. “But we have played together in the Championship and we did all right.”

Ranger made his debut on the first day of last season, as a substitute at West Bromwich Albion. He has played 33 games for Newcastle – nine from the start – scoring three goals.

“I always feel like I’m getting better,” he said. “Playing with the first-team players is helping me become stronger.”

 

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