TROUBLED Newcastle United striker Nile Ranger has been handed a final written warning by the club.
Newcastle have taken the extraordinary step of disciplinary action over his persistent lateness, which leaves Ranger’s Newcastle career hanging by a thread.
Ranger has four years left on a lucrative five-and-a-half year contract, but has angered United with his attitude of late. Sources have revealed to The Journal that Ranger was even late to a disciplinary meeting called to discuss his behaviour that involved a PFA representative recently.
In a further worrying development, the 21-year-old has also been dropped by his agent – who has taken the decision not to renew the player’s representation contract.
It is an alarming fall from grace for Ranger, who was playing in the Premier League two years ago but is now facing serious disciplinary sanctions by Newcastle.
Last week Alan Pardew accused Ranger of “letting down” his fellow professionals with his persistent tardiness – which sees the striker regularly turn up for training more than half an hour after players are due to report. And it has now reached the stage where Newcastle are considering their options.
The player, who was given a chance by Pardew at first, has been banned from training with the first team and will not be considered for first team duty until he is on time for six straight weeks. He said: “This guy is late so often, it is unbelievable.
“He’s still at this football club and we’re still trying to do something with him.
“But he will still not get back in the team unless he has a period of six weeks where he isn’t late. I don’t think it is going to happen.”
Yet on Monday morning the forward took to his Twitter account to say “I’d pay good money to stay in bed this morning” at around 9am in another ill-advised missive from the wayward forward.
The striker is understood to be injured at the moment but is close to returning.
Newcastle have made him available for loan but there are no interested clubs – and the forward has blocked one potential exit route by rejecting a move to Sheffield Wednesday.
In a move that exasperated his parent club, Ranger opted to stay at Newcastle even though Owls manager Dave Jones had offered him the chance of Championship football at Hillsborough.
Ranger is understood to have missed a deadline to make a decision because he wanted better terms from the Owls.
Ranger’s slide into his current predicament has been as depressing as it has alarming. In 2009 he was feted as the English Emmanuel Adebayor and won caps for England Under-19s after making incredible progress in the reserve and Academy teams.
After Alan Shearer spotted his raw potential in the reserves, Ranger spoke of making the most of a chance that he was “grateful” for.
Aware that he was attracting covetous glances from Manchester City, Bolton Wanderers and West Brom, Newcastle took the decision to reward him with a long-term contract and, for a time, it looked as though the gamble was paying off.
He made a fine impact from the bench after Pardew’s appointment in 2010 and even made a first start against Aston Villa in April of that year.
Then the striker was pictured on the front of a national newspaper with a replica handgun and Newcastle decided to transfer-list the forward.
He rejected a move to Blackpool last summer and, despite loan spells at Barnsley and Sheffield Wednesday, has not been able to fight his way back into the Newcastle reckoning.
Now even loyal supporters like his representatives appear to have tired of a player who has been given plenty of chances to correct his behaviour.