Notorious ex-Newcastle United striker Nile Ranger training with new club - 'I think he's one of the best strikers in League One'

Former Newcastle United striker Nile Ranger is training with Oxford United
Former Newcastle United striker Nile Ranger is training with Oxford United

Controversial former Newcastle United striker Nile Ranger is training with Oxford United.

The 27-year-old has been without a club since his release from Southend United in January - however The U's want to take a closer look at him.

Ranger joined the Magpies from Swindon Town with huge potential in 2009 and broke into the first-team under Chris Hughton in the club's Championship winning title season in 2010.

He carried on his form on Newcastle's return to the Premier League, however a series of off the field incidents led to his release in 2013.

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A return to Swindon then followed before spells at Blackpool and Southend but his maintaining his bad-boy reputation has saw him without a club since the beginning of 2018.

Ranger spoke in-length with The True Geordie Podcast last month about his time at St James's Park in a bid to prove he has changed his ways and pleaded for a club to take a chance on him.

Oxford, bottom of England's third tier, have welcomed Ranger to train with them, although boss Karl Robinson admitted the club are a "million miles away" from offering him a deal.

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“Everything he’s done in his life, I totally disagree with. I can at no stage protect him, I just believe in giving people a chance," said Robinson, speaking to the Oxford Mail.

“He phoned me last week, he drove two hours to meet us in London last week before the (Charlton) game and he almost begged for that opportunity.

“He gives me his word the second something derogatory happens while he’s training with me or something I don’t agree with happens, then he’ll be gone.

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“He’ll play 20 minutes in a game on Monday, then he’s got two or three weeks for me to watch him.

“It’s not something I’m going to do right away. He’s got to prove to me he can be in on time, he’s got to prove to me he’s fit and can fit into this team. He’s got to prove to the fans he’s in a better place than he’s been before."

In 76 League One appearances - including a loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday - Ranger has found the net on 20 occasions.

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And should Robinson decide to offer Ranger a deal, the 38-year-old has suggested he can help their attacking woes.

He continued: “I think at his best he is one of the best strikers in League One.

“I’m dead straight with all my players, but while someone of his quality is about and we can get him fit, we’ll see.

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“If he comes here, he has to have an impact on local kids as well.

“If he comes I’d want him going into local schools once a week talking about the things he has done and the mistakes he’s made and the reasons why he’s done it and telling kids it doesn’t work.

“We’re a million miles away from anything and I’m a long way from being decided on what I want to do with the situation.”

Meanwhile, ex Newcastle winger Yasin Ben El-Mhanni has signed for Scunthorpe United on a deal until the end of the season.