Nile Ranger has promised to 'keep on grafting' as he strives to make an impression at Newcastle United after a long spell out of the team.
The striker's future at the club had been uncertain following off-the-field issues but he has been working hard and was rewarded on Thursday with a first start since April last year as the Magpies were beaten 2-0 by Bordeaux in the Europa League.
He now hopes to be given further opportunities and insists he will do everything he can to make a success of his St James' Park career.
"It's been tough for me," Ranger told the Shields Gazette. "I've been out of the first team for a while at Newcastle.
"It's always the best thing to play for your parent club, and Newcastle's a massive club, so it's good to get back. If I keep getting the chance, then I'll do well. I haven't played for so long, so it can be a stepping stone.
"Hopefully, I get more chances, and keep on grafting and doing well. If you do everything right, and you train well, then you can't be ignored.
"The gaffer's acknowledged the fact I've been coming in on time and done things right. He's rewarded me.
"There's a lot to learn. I don't know it all - I'm only 21 - but obviously I must do extra training, get my head down and watch others.
"The gaffer's been good with me. He told me he was watching me, and not to take anything for granted. He wants me to keep up the good work."
A new leaf
Ranger has had loan spells at Barnsley and Sheffield Wednesday and admits that he thought he would have to leave Newcastle, but he is glad to now be a part of Alan Pardew's plans and has thanked everyone who has supported him.
He said: "I thought 'that's it - I have to move on to another club'. I thought my future was going to be somewhere else.
"It's not been the case. There's always another chance to turn a new leaf.
"There's been a quite a few loyal supporters that have been backing me and giving me and the rest of the squad support.
"So I have to give a shout out to all of them. It's always good to give them payback.
"Some see me and think 'why is he getting a chance here? He doesn't deserve it'. Obviously, I have to redeem myself and take my chance."
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