NILE Ranger has been told he can be a success on the pitch at Newcastle United – but only if he puts in the hard work off it, writes Miles Starforth.
Ranger (pictured) has shown glimpses of his talent since breaking into the first team last season.
But manager Alan Pardew, like his predecessor Chris Hughton, has been frustrated by his timekeeping.
Pardew last week reiterated that the striker needs to be more disciplined day-in, day-out on the training field and around the club if he’s to fulfill his undoubted potential.
Ranger’s fellow striker Peter Lovenkrands is hoping the 19-year-old forward heeds the advice Pardew and the club’s senior professionals.
“Nile has a lot to learn, especially in training,” Lovenkrands said. “There’s a lot of things you need to work on and things you need to listen to.
“He’s got good potential and he’s a big threat when he comes on the park. Late on in games, he’s a handful – any defender will tell you that.”
Ranger – who signed a new long-term contract earlier this season – is still looking for his first Premier League goal, having scored in the Championship and Carling Cup for United.
The Londoner – who missed Saturday’s defeat to Everton with a training ground injury suffered on the eve of the game – has largely been used as an impact substitute by Pardew, who feels Ranger isn’t yet ready to start a league game.
And Lovenkrands, aware of the pitfalls for young footballers, is hopeful he can get off the mark and progress at Newcastle.
“He’s a good lad and a great boy to have around,” added the 31-year-old. “He just needs a goal for his confidence.
“I just hope he develops in the right direction. I’ve been one to help him a lot. Nile’s a character. You can say so many things, you just don’t know how much he listens to.
“The senior boys can only do so much. Hopefully, he’ll take it on board.”