Nile Ranger joined Newcastle as a 17 year-old from Southampton in the summer of 2008, and had a big chance to make a name for himself on Tyneside and become a good professional footballer, but he threw away the chance.
Nile Ranger while at Newcastle
Nile made his first team debut for Newcastle in the first game of the Championship season at West Brom in August of 2009, when he replaced Shola Ameobi in the second half of the game which ended in a 1-1 draw, the only game Newcastle didn’t win that August.
And in that season, when Newcastle won the Championship Nile Ranger played 30 times with 2 goals for Newcastle.
And in the next season with Newcastle back in the Premier League, he played 28 times with one goal for Newcastle, but when Alan Pardew arrived in December of 2010 to replace Chris Hughton, he quickly identified Nile as a slacker in training.
Nile was late for training a number of times, and Pardew read the riot act more than once to the young Londoner, but he basically threw his chance at Newcastle away and wouldn’t buckle down..
And he started to get in trouble with the police again, as he had done as a teenager, and that was one of the reasons Southampton unloaded him in the summer of 2008.
He joined Swindon Town in the summer of 2013, and this summer Nile joined Blackpool where Lee Clark is the new manager, and they are currently bottom of the Championship.
Nile has given an interview yesterday, which has been widely reported, and he talks about his time at Newcastle:
“Newcastle was definitely good, it put my name up there.” “Newcastle gave me a big chance but I messed it up. Everyone makes mistakes in life and I was young,”
“Demba Ba came in, Cisse was there, Mark Viduka was there, Owen was there. They all used to take me aside and talk to me.”
“Michael Owen, he’s a top top bloke, he’d pull me to one side and say I needed to focus but to be fair, when I was young I thought I had it all.”
“It can go in one ear and out the other, I wasn’t really taking it in. It’s silly but it is nice to know that players like Michael Owen care and see potential, try and help.”
We slammed Michael when he was at Newcastle towards the end of his time on Tyneside, mainly because he massively under-performed for us in our relegation season – which happened to be the last year of his contract.
But when we see him on the TV now as a pundit, he’s very measured and has some very good insights, and he seems to have given Nile some good advice while at Newcastle, from his own time as a boy wonder.
Michael was only 18 when he was one of the stars at the 1998 World Cup in France, when he partnered Alan Shearer up front and scored a wonder goal against Argentina in the quarter finals.
And some of the Newcastle youngsters could do a lot worse than understand the reasons why Nile Ranger, who had stacks of talent and ability, didn’t make it at Newcastle United.
It’s a sobering story, and one they can learn from.
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