NILE Ranger is willing to return to Southend United for free.

The 28-year-old striker has not played since leaving the Shrimpers in January 2018.

But the former Newcastle United forward is eager to come back to Blues and willing to play without being paid.

“I would love to come back to Southend and I’ll play for free,” Ranger told Echosport.

“I feel like I owe it to the fans because they’ve been so loyal to me.

“I’ve never known a player have three songs but they had that for me when I was there.

“They would sing them back-to-back and it meant a lot to me.

“I class myself as a Southend fan now myself and seeing the results coming in this season has been horrible so I want to help.

“It didn’t finish properly with Southend either so I feel like I have unfinished business as well.”

The former Newcastle United striker scored 10 goals in 49 games for Blues but was regularly fined for poor timekeeping.

And Ranger now regrets how he behaved at Roots Hall.

“I took the mick really being late all the time but I’ve learnt from that and I’m so hungry to play,” said Ranger.

“I’ve had offers coming in to play but nothing my heart is in but my heart is definitely in Southend so it’s different.

“I didn’t even want to get paid, I just want to play and I need a door to open for me really.”

Ranger has been hit by off the field controversies throughout his career.

But he insists that is no longer a problem.

“I’m 28 now and I don’t have time to be messing around like that anymore,” said Ranger.

“I know maybe the manager Sol Campbell might look at me and think he can’t trust me because of what’s happened off the field but that’s all in the past.

“I want to help Southend and whether or not it’s too late I want to help us get up the table.

“Plus if I don’t even want to get paid, why would you say no?”

And Ranger also feels fit enough to play.

“I’ve kept myself ticking over and would just need that match sharpness back,” said Ranger.

“I could come off the bench and then be fully fit in three weeks.

“I could definitely come in and do a job.

“I’m not messing around anymore, I want to play and I want to play for Southend.”