One thing that is clear this season is that 19 year-old Nile Ranger has stormed back into the reckoning for first team action at Newcastle.
Nile Ranger – after scoring equalizer at Chelsea
Nile has already appeared 33 times for Newcastle with 3 goals, but when Leon Best arrived from Coventry in January, he didn’t see much first team action, but he has been doing very well in training, which is just one reason that Chris Hughton has decided not to send him out on loan, at least not yet.
And the striker positions at Newcastle have increased in terms of competition this season, with Xisco having returned to the club from his loan spell at Spanish club Racing Santander, but Nile still made the bench and a late appearance in the 2-2 draw with Wigan on Saturday.
That was Nile’s first league appearance of the season, although he’s played the full games in the Carling Cup wins at Accrington Stanley and Chelsea, and played well in both those games.
Ranger talked about his ambition today to the Newcastle Journal:
“My ambition this season was to be the club’s top goalscorer,” “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 has not been helped in getting games in the first team, by Hughton’s preference this season to play 4-5-1 in most games, both home and away, so only a single striker is deployed, although Chris did change to 4-4-2 on Saturday, but had to leave out captain Kevin Nolan to do that.
“Only time will tell if I can play up front together with (first-choice) Andy Carroll,” “But we have played together in the Championship and we did all right.”
“I always feel like I’m getting better,” “Playing with the first-team players is helping me become stronger.”
Whether Nile is sent out on loan this season probably depends on whether the lads can keep in the Carling Cup, when Newcastle play Arsenal in the 4th round next Wednesday night. As long as Newcastle are in the Carling we cannot see Nile being sent out on loan.
And if he keeps improving he could get many more substitute appearances in the league this season, which will help his development a lot.
Certainly Nile continues to look a good bet as a future striker at Newcastle.