FORMER Newcastle United striker Nile Ranger has vowed to ‘start afresh’ next season after a controversial spell at Blackpool.
The 24-year-old went AWOL from the Championship’s basement club earlier this season, and has not reported to training since the start of December.
Ranger claims Blackpool ‘really took the mick’ with his contract, and when he was left out of the squad for a game against Birmingham, he decided enough was enough.
The striker – who played for Newcastle between 2009 and 2013, told the Blackpool Gazette: “I’m not on a lot of money there to be honest, they really took the mick.
“They put me on minimum wage and pay as you play.
“I was supposed to go to Leeds but it fell through, so I went to Blackpool as a platform and just took whatever deal.
“I wasn’t getting in squads and I was asking how am I supposed to fill my fridge if I’m not playing?
“I thought I should have been playing. People who don’t know the situation will be thinking, ‘oh, he’s AWOL again’.
“There are certain situations going on which no-one knows about. It just didn’t work out.
“With the manager (Lee Clark) and stuff, things just weren’t clicking.
“The manager is a good guy and things and everyone was nice but it was just the way they handled the deal, it was a bit off.”
Ranger is contracted to Blackpool until the end of the season, with the League One-bound Tangerines highly unlikely to take up the option to extend if for a further year.
He added: “I want to start afresh again next season.
“There will be plenty of opportunities for me, people think my chances have run out.
“But there will be plenty of things for me in the future.”
On his problems, Ranger said: “To be fair, I lost the hunger.
“I go in and out of love with football and that happens when things don’t go my way.”