News has broken that Ravel Morrison is currently training with the Blues. The wonder kid has been blessed with electric pace, a locker full of amazing skills, and brilliant awareness for a pass and an eye for a spectacular goal. On paper then he appears to be everything you might wish for in an attacking midfielder, but you’ll also find him on just about every top ten failed footballers list.
Morrison broke on to the scene when he played in a midfield three alongside Paul Pogba and Ryan Tunnicliffe as they lifted a youth cup for Man Utd in 2011. Pogba is now the most expensive player on record having rejoined Man Utd for a sum believed to be about £90 million. Pogba however, was not the star of the tournaments that year, Morrison was. Sir Alex Ferguson described him as the best player from that age group he had ever seen (when Ravel was only 14), which coming from the most celebrated footballing manager ever, is rather a large claim to fame. Neville stated that Ravel was ‘an unbelievable talent, a Paul Gascoigne-type who could beat men and score some incredible goals.’ He went on to say, “there are few players in central midfield that can beat people – Ravel can drift past them.” Man Utd midfield legend Paddy Crerand said that Ravel was the best young player he had ‘seen since George Best.’ Morrison was pictured alongside Pogba and another familiar face, Jesse Lingard, as they won the club’s record 10th FA Youth Cup. Corry Evans, a defender in that FA youth cup winning team recalls that Morrison made everything appear ‘effortless’ on the pitch and could shoot superbly with ‘either foot.’ So why is Lingard now a first team United forward, Pogba the most expensive ever player and Morrison a free agent training with Birmingham?
Morrison wasn’t all perfect. Ferguson had complete faith in Ravel, even enticing the club to support the young talent when he was convicted of intimidating a witness to a knifepoint robbery, for which he’d escaped with a 12-month referral order, instead he was forced to pay £2,000 in compensation. They even went on to back him after he admitted criminal damage having thrown his partner’s phone from her parents’ window. Morrison was later referred to Salford’s youth offending team for domestic violence counselling, and then fined again. Senior United players used to speculate that if Morrison was 10 percent less talented, his career wouldn’t have lasted past sixteen years of age. Morrison was sold to West Ham in January 2012. Ferguson later wrote that it was painful to sell him, and it further saddened him to see that Morrison hadn’t the strength of mind to overcome the hurts of his childhood or his inner demons, unlike Ronaldo and other troubled players he had worked with. Whilst the current England manager Gareth Southgate tipped the youngster to break in to the senior England side not too many years a go, other coach’s claimed he had no understanding of what was socially acceptable and his Man Utd team mates were left frustrated by the amount of talent he seemed to be throwing away.
When he was sold to West Ham he was only nineteen-years-old, and yet Ferguson urged that he needed to ‘start a new life’ to fulfil his potential footballing genius. A succession of loan spells followed after this transfer to West Ham, first to Birmingham City FC. He had a little bit of a shaky start to to 13/14 season and Clark almost terminated his loan spell, but a few performances of brilliant class and work rate saw him end his spell at Blues with a rather good season under his belt. His return to West Ham was marked with a goal on us full professional debut for them in the League Cup, and a Premier League goal on his first start as well as a wonderful individual goal described as “genius” by Allerdyce when scored against West Ham. However, Ravel’s career at West Ham was cut short, it was surprisingly not his own doing, he had in fact been performing with a new found maturity but a conflict with an agent representing Allerdyce saw him shipped out on loan once more, first to QPR (the highlight of which was a brace against the Blues) and then a rather unsuccessful spell at Cardiff. His time at West Ham was ended at the start of 2015. Allerdyce once said that it was his duty to make sure that Ravel matured in to a responsible person and to keep his feet on the ground and his head from swelling, claiming that he didn’t want them to change the sizes of the doors so Morrison could fit through, when he found this impossible just as Ferguson had, Ravel ended up in Italy. He joined Lazio where their chairman claimed he could have become a fan favourite if he had a more modest approach. He returned to QPR on loan and has since had a trial with Wigan Athletic.
Whilst it might seem like Morrison has been around for decades, he is still only 24 years old. He’s hardly stuck in a dead end job fantasying as what could have been. Many believe that Ravel just needs one more chance to kickstart his career. Some Blues fans have been making out that he’d he a good substitute, but if fit, and ready to tap in to the clear potential he has, maybe he might just be the touch of class we need up front. Our frontmen hardly set the world alight last season, but Ravel has a wealth of natural talent at his disposal, with the correct attitude he’d be a Premier League sensation. When he was at QPR for the first time, Danny Simpson – now a premier league winning defender with Leicester, insisted that Ravel had the attitude it would take to turn his career around. Harry Redknapp doesn’t take any nonsense from his players, just click the following YouTube link as evidence for that:
(Warning – Contains strong language)
Maybe come next season, should Morrison earn a contract and get fit and ready having not really played since before January, we might see a new, mature Ravel Morrison worthy of reaching the lofty heights Sir Alex Ferguson claimed he was destined for. If you doubt his potential ability then just watch the following video:
Or this goal he scored in training for England’s under 21 side:
(Warning – this video contains skills of an obscene nature)
So what have the Blues got to lose, he would join on a free transfer and he’s got bags of talent just ready to be unlocked.
Comment below whether you would like Ravel back at the club, and whether you think Redknapp can still make a star of him… Or is he just another James Vaughan in the making?
By Joel Grenan