Newcastle striker Ranger looking to turn the corner

The Northern Echo: Newcastle footballer Nile Ranger is currently on loan at Barnsley Newcastle footballer Nile Ranger is currently on loan at Barnsley

NEWCASTLE UNITED'S Nile Ranger has revealed how his off-the-field behaviour has cost him numerous opportunities to move on this year - insisting he has learned from his errors.

Ranger made the first appearance of his loan spell at Barnsley in Saturday's victory at Leeds United.

The 20-year-old had not figured in a Newcastle shirt since facing Chelsea on May 15 and manager Alan Pardew had been looking to move him on throughout the summer.

But Newcastle failed to strike a deal with a number of clubs, most notably Blackpool and Birmingham, who had both expressed an interest.

But controversies off the pitch put clubs off until Barnsley boss Keith Hill took a gamble last week.

"People in football look at me and say, ‘Yes, we like him. On the pitch he is good, but off it - a problem'," admitted Ranger. "So no clubs have wanted to touch me, if I am being completely honest. Thank God for Barnsley then."

Ranger has been in the headlines for the wrong reasons over the years, all of which have had little to do with football. He had also spent three months training with the reserves during those times.

But now the former Southampton academy prospect, who moved to Newcastle after his release from the Saints because of his poor reputation, claims he is focusing on his career.

"Barnsley sat me down and said they were going to take a risk and I am grateful for that. This is a fresh start for me and it is up to me now to perform as I can do," said Ranger, who also hit trouble during his schoolboy days.

"I am hungry - in fact, I am starving for it. I know I have got to keep my nose clean off the pitch and that is what I will be trying hard to do."

Since Dennis Wise brought Ranger to Newcastle in the summer of 2008 he has always been regarded as a young striker with plenty of potential.

And after being handed a three-year contract during Alan Shearer's short spell in charge, Ranger was then a prominent part of the Newcastle squad during their promotion from the Championship the following season.

But he has never really developed from that point, becoming more a member of the reserve team rather than Pardew's high-flying Newcastle line-ups.

Ranger said: "I don't exactly know many people in Barnsley so there is not much that is going to distract me from my game. So this is a good move for me because it means I can just focus on my football.

"It is great here and I have settled in really well. This is a very good Barnsley team but if I get in and start games then I shall definitely score goals."

The need to keep Ranger reduced when Pardew strengthened his attacking ranks in the summer with Demba Ba - and Shola Ameobi, Sammy Ameobi, Leon Best and Peter Lovenkrands are also ahead of him.

And Pardew's decision to play Hatem Ben Arfa behind Ba in the last two games has added extra creativity to the way Newcastle play, with the Frenchman's class providing more unpredictability.

Ben Arfa was disappointed with the defeat at Manchester City ten days ago, but feels the draw at Manchester United has given the squad further belief ahead of this Saturday's visit of Chelsea.

He said: "I think the only thing that makes a difference to a way the team plays is confidence. We really have good footballers here and if we carry on like this then we can do something."

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