You know the player is seriously talented, when Sir Alex Ferguson says: “I would pay to watch him train let alone play in a match.” This ladies and gentlemen is Ravel Morrison. One of the most talented footballers to have ever played for the Man United academy. Yet, he isn’t knocking the door to greatness anytime soon.
Born in Manchester, his talent was quickly spotted by United scouts. He was signed as a scholar in 2009 before penning a professional deal on his 17th birthday a year later. His first team debut came in the 2010 League Cup Fourth Round victory over Wolves. The entire first team had high hopes of him for he was called the most talented footballer of his age by Sir Alex. Unfortunately, he lacked discipline and focus.
His off field problems never ceased to exist. He was convicted of intimidating a witness to a knife point robbery, for which he’d escaped with a 12-month referral order and was instructed to pay £2,000 in compensation. In a separate case, he admitted criminal damage, having thrown his partner’s phone from her parents’ window. Morrison was charged with domestic violence counselling and was fined again.
Move to West Ham
As his off-field problems mounted, his chances of succeeding at Old Trafford diminished. He was sold to West Ham subsequently for an undisclosed fee.Ferguson told
Ferguson told then Hammers boss Sam Allardyce: “Ravel is a brilliant footballer. Brilliant ability. Top-class ability. Needs to get away from Manchester and start a new life. I hope you can sort him out, because if you can he’ll be a genius.”
Before he could make his mark at Upton Park he was back in the headlines for all the wrong reasons however as he was fined £7,000 by the FA for a homophobic remark made on Twitter.
He was sent on loan to Birmingham City to regularly play first team football. However, Lee Clark, then manager at Birmingham wanted to send him back. He was apparently tired with Ravel’s attitude and alleged lack of commitment.
Back at West Ham for the 2013-14 season, it looked like he would finally reach his potential. He scored his first League goal against Everton. He also scored a beauty against Spurs in a 3-0 derby victory. His exploits saw him being called up to the U-21 England squad.
In February 2014, he joined QPR on loan where he arguably had his most consistent period in his career. He played regularly and helped QPR getting promoted. However in July 2014, he was accused of assault, of which later he was found not guilty.
Allardyce gave him a last chance and he was loaned to Cardiff City. He made just one start at the Welsh side and returned in December 2014 with Cardiff manager Russell Slade saying he had no future at the club.
West Ham terminated his contract and he joined Lazio in Rome. His Lazio career followed the same old story with a handful appearances, flashes of brilliance and off-field issues. Unhappy with life in Italy, he returned to England on loan to QPR again in January 2017.
Since then he has made just 5 appearances and is now facing an uncertain summer transfer window. His career shows us that talent alone does not make you successful. It just takes a by-part role. Discipline, hard-work, dedication, focus are more important than talent.
And as for Ravel Morrison, he will always be remembered for what he could have become.