Newcastle United player 'regrets' gun photograph

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A young Premiership footballer "regrets" striking a gangster pose and being photographed with a replica gun, his club said today.

Nile Ranger, an England under-19 player, will be reminded of the "importance of being a positive role model", Newcastle United said in a statement after the photo was published in The Sun.

The picture, which shows the London-born forward wearing a hooded top holding the silver handgun in front of his face, was taken at his home by his girlfriend.

A Newcastle United spokeswoman said: "The club have spoken to Nile and can confirm that the item shown in the photograph is a replica firearm which it is not an offence to own.

"Nile regrets posing for the photograph, which was taken by his girlfriend at home.

"The club will be speaking with the player this week about the importance of being a positive role model to young fans."

Ranger was a substitute in Newcastle's game at Chelsea yesterday and played a part in setting up his side's late equaliser.

He served an 11-week sentence in a young offenders institution when he was 15 after he took part in a street robbery.

Ranger once said: "Jail was pretty rough but it taught me a lot. The most important thing I learned is that I never want to go back."