By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Nile Ranger ended his 18-month exile from the Newcastle first-team with a late substitute appearance against Stoke - and revealed that the run-out has whet his appetite for more Barclays Premier League action.
And the 21-year-old striker has pledged to keep on working hard to turn his Magpies career around.
Ranger hadn't played for United since the 2-2 draw with Chelsea in May 2010, but was named on the bench at Southampton last week and came on in the closing stages at the Britannia Stadium on Wednesday night as Alan Pardew's side tried to salvage a point.
That was not to be, but the London-born frontman was pleased to finally pull on the black and white shirt again after spending last season on loan with Barnsley and Sheffield Wednesday.
"It's always a good buzz when you come and you want to impress," he told nufc.co.uk. "I got maybe seven minutes and it's good to come on even if it was just for the last seven.
"The two goals they got were a real shock to us and very disappointing because we came here after the defeat we had to Southampton and I think we did well.
"I was on the bench against Southampton and when you're on the bench you get to see how the whole game is going, so that if you do come on you know what to do.
"Southampton were all over us in that game but I thought we came to Stoke and showed what we are about. We've just got to keep our heads up and wait for the next one. It'll spur us on."
Ranger scored for the under-21s against Sunderland last week after recovering from injury and although Pardew's hand has been forced with several injuries to key players, the Magpies manager has admitted that the former England under-19 has improved his attitude in recent weeks.
And the player has pledged not to let his standards slip after working hard to force his way back into the reckoning at St. James' Park.
"It's a start and the gaffer is showing me what can happen if I keep making progress with my behaviour off the field and getting into training on time," Ranger said.
"He's given me a few minutes and hopefully there are more to come. I've just got to take any chance I get.
"People say that I've got potential and that I'm wasting it, so I've sat myself down and thought 'listen, I need to get myself together here and graft.'
"I want to play for this team and I now realise that I need to concentrate, behave myself and get rewarded.
"It's good that I've had a cheeky little seven minutes - but that makes me hungry for more."
Click here to buy tickets for Newcastle's next game, at home to Wigan Athletic