Ravel Morrison: a footballing enigma

Birmingham City midfielder Ravel MorrisonBirmingham City fans have an entertaining season in store after signing Ravel Morrison.

When everyone else at Manchester United, including the coaching staff and the senior players, had given up on the controversial 18-year-old, the manager persevered.

Ferguson recognised the natural talent in Morrison’s boots and stuck with the attacking midfielder when most other players would have been shown the door a long time ago. But even the United boss had to eventually concede defeat in his attempts to nurture a talent widely described as the best to emerge from the club’s Academy since Paul Scholes. “The case with Ravel is well documented,” Ferguson said. “I think he’s better out of Manchester to be honest with you. He’s got a great talent, but having to deal with that is very important.” That, in a nutshell, is why Morrison is now a West Ham player on loan at Championship side Birmingham City, having signed in a deal worth up to £1 million after United told him to find a new club with six months remaining on his existing contract at Old Trafford.  Few people at United have a good word to say about Morrison, who had a string of disciplinary issues within the club, not to mention the far more serious problems, including a 12-month referral order after pleading guilty to witness intimidation early last year.

Morrison spoke of his desperation to play first-team football having grown frustrated with a lack of opportunities at United – but he would have had far more to show from his time at the club had he shown more application. Instead, he made just three appearances – all in the League Cup – before leaving United, with the club not even including a buy-back clause in the deal.  Everyday in training he was in contact with players who had reaped the reward for their hard work and sacrifices.

Regarded by many observers as the most naturally gifted player to come through Manchester United‘s youth ranks since a certain floppy haired Ulsterman half a century ago, Ravel Morrison’s career is in danger of stalling before its even started. A lightening quick winger/ playmaker and both footed (sound familiar?), Morrison has drawn comparisons from drooling football writers with not only George Best and Ryan Giggs but also, rather fancifully, Lionel Messi.

Alas, all this lavish praise seems to have gone to the lad’s head before he’s even had the chance to show it.

Morrison’s regular contributions to Twitter display an uncanny ability to put his foot in it- almost as if he doesn’t realise what he writes  is immediately broadcast all over the public domain. Take your pick from referring to United’s end of season awards party as “a total joke” and making inappropriate comments about the Manchester riots and Ryan Giggs’ love life to referring to his recent omission from a reserve team game as ‘a piss take’. It remains to be seen if manager’s patience will hold out long enough for Morrison to actually break through to the first team and show the world what all the fuss should really be about – lets’s hope he makes it as he’s a tabloid car crash waiting to happen.

One thing is for sure, Morrison did not leave United because he doesn’t have the ability on the pitch. He has all the ingredients to make a top Premier League player: physically powerful, elegant and skillful on the ball with superb vision. Since the age of 14, Morrison has been billed as the next big thing to come out of United and he appealed to a wider audience with a series of excellent displays in the side that won the FA Youth Cup. His age, his circumstances, his difficult upbringing, were taken into account by the people at United – but their patience could only extend so far.

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