Manchester United’s latest ‘diamond in the rough’ ready to come off the production line and take the Premier League by storm, has hardly been one of footballs best kept secrets. In fact, merely typing Ravel Morrison’s name into a search engine would bring about articles from eager bloggers all too easily comparing him to the world’s greatest. So do we believe the hype? Have we got the next Gazza on our hands?
Potentially, it seems, yes. The lad from Longsight has proven too good at academy level and at the age of 17 is a regular fixture in United’s reserve team. His pace and finesse have earned him rave reviews with the Independent, listing him in their top five players of the future. And even without a Premier League appearance, The Telegraph’s Henry Winter has stated he is better than Jack Wilshere.
Being likened to Paul Gascoigne, though, would suggest Morrison also has a lifestyle issue which could interrupt his progression into a world-beater. Reports of arrest and problems with his attitude have followed the youngster around like a bad smell and the attention he is receiving from the media is worryingly overt for a kid of whom so much is expected.
Sir Alex Ferguson is of course a seasoned professional at dealing with such prodigies. The natural reaction would be to wrap Morrison in cotton wool, protect him the media and slowly introduce him to life as a famous footballer and potentially, a world icon.
Surprisingly, though, the 17 year old was named on the bench for the Carling Cup game against Wolves which can only mean Ferguson has decided he has put his troubles behind him and he is ready to face up to life as a Manchester United player.
He certainly has the ability to succeed at Old Trafford. Playing as a left winger or just off the front man, he scores goals, attacks with urgency and has more tricks up his sleeve than Paul Daniels.
Many have suggested that he should be sent on loan to ply his trade and test himself against first-team players, but given his problems the best place for Morrison is at Old Trafford under the watchful eye of Sir Alex. Guidance is the key.
So could we see some Ravel-dazzle in the Premier League in years to come? At 17, the future certainly looks bright. As long as he stays on the straight and narrow, Manchester United’s number 49 could be next on the list of home-grown superstars ready to take the world by storm.