Given that Senegalese duo Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse have been such big hits at Newcastle United this season, the fortunes of Nile Ranger will not be at the forefront of many Newcastle fans’ minds. However, Ranger achieved promotion with Sheffield Wednesday from League 1 to the Championship at the weekend and when he scored the second goal of the match, revealed a t-shirt that said: “I am a changed man.” So, if Nile Ranger is a changed man, does he have a future on Tyneside?
The fall and fall of Nile Ranger has all happened so quickly. Under Chris Hughton, Ranger was given a fair amount of game time in the Championship in the 2009/10 season, and while Nile struggled to find the back of the net, his all round play and work-rate made him an asset for the team.
However, that was all overshadowed by his behaviour off the pitch, from being pictured holding a replica gun and being convicted for being drunk and disorderly, to being fined for making homophobic comments on Twitter and breaching his bail conditions. It’s a never ending stream of bad news surround Ranger and it’s no surprise that Alan Pardew banished him to the reserves and sent him out on loan as soon as he could.
Now 21-years-old, it is time for Nile Ranger to grow up. Trying to make his point by showing a message on a t-shirt isn’t the best way to go about it. Instead he needs to be aware that actions speak louder than words and stay out of trouble for an extended period of time. He also needs to score goals, as two in eight appearances for Sheffield Wednesday in League 1 is nothing to write home about.
Newcastle have invested plenty of time and money in Nile Ranger, illustrated by the fact that he’s contracted to the Magpies until 2016. You have the impression that Pardew doesn’t think too highly of Ranger and an apology won’t cut it. He’s likely to go out on loan again next season and he needs to score buckets of goals and, as importantly, keep his head down.
Right now, Ranger wouldn’t get a look in at Newcastle, but we’re all aware that situations in football can change in an instant. It remains to be seen whether he’s a changed man, but Nile Ranger needs to work hard if he’s to get another opportunity on Tyneside as right now his future in a black and white shirt looks bleak.