Football is a game awash with players who could have made it if it were not for their attitude and Ravel Morrison is another one.
Now linked with a move back to QPR after a signing a pre-contract agreement with Lazio in January following release from West Ham, a return to London and the Premier League would surely only see Morrison fall back into his old ways.
Morrison, once touted as the Paul Gascoigne of his generation, has had controversy follow him throughout his career and that will not change no matter which club he chooses. Spells with West Ham, Birmingham, Cardiff, QPR and most recently Lazio, for whom he never kicked a ball, following his emergence at Manchester United have been plagued by on and off the field antics.
But where did it all go wrong for the Wythenshawe born midfielder?
At one point Morrison had it all. Over his developing years at Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson and the Carrington staff considered him to be one of the best talents they had ever seen – Commendation of the highest level from a coaching set up who brought through the ‘Class of 92’.
However, throughout his teenage years Morrison was considered to be a trouble maker who mixed with the wrong crowd. By the age of 16 he had been stopped in a car as a part of a drugs and guns bust and had picked up a caution for an assault on his own mother.
Not long after scoring twice in United’s 2011 FA Youth Cup win he was almost sent to prison for witness intimidation and then proceeded to ask United for a bumper pay rise.
By this point Sir Alex and United had become tired of Morrison and he was sold to West Ham United for £650,000, however the move came on the back of Sir Alex Ferguson’s personal recommendation to Sam Allardyce, the Scot believing a move away from Manchester would do Morrison the world of good.
Initially it looked a good move for the youngster. A loan spell with Steve Clark’s Birmingham City saw Morrison widely criticised by the then Blues manager for his poor attitude to training, yet Morrison was still able to produce a series of strong performances for Birmingham.
Delighted by Morrison’s apparent resurgence, upon his return to The Boleyn Ground Allardyce gave the midfielder his first team opportunity. He initially dazzled in a 3-0 victory over Tottenham, scoring his first goal for the Hammers in the process.
Similarly strong performances were to follow and there was talk of Morrison being called up for the senior England Squad and perhaps even heading to the World Cup in Brazil. His form would dip and a second loan spell followed, this time to QPR.
Morrison’s poor end of season form would see any hopes of a World Cup call up vanish, instead he would spend that summer behind bars accused of assaulting an ex-girlfriend and her mother. A crime he would be acquitted of in January.
By this point, however, Allardyce had begun to grow tired of Morrison. He was shipped out to Cardiff on loan, a spell that proved to be another disastrous turn in Morrison’s young career.
Eight shocking performances for the South Wales club and another dispute about wages upon his return to West Ham was enough for Allardyce, who let the 21 year-old go despite an £18 million release fee in his contract.
Morrison subsequently signed a pre-contract with Lazio, however reports that the midfielder is now homesick in Rome look set to end his spell in Italy without making a single appearance for I Biancocelesti.
Unfortunately for Chris Ramsey and QPR, despite his obvious talents it seems as though Ravel Morrison is determined to be his own downfall. With Sir Alex Ferguson and Sam Allardyce unable to tame the young midfielder and keep his obvious talent on track, the inexperienced Ramsey is unlikely to be able to make any real difference.
This is despite recent assurances from both Paul Scholes and Harry Redknapp that Morrison can still prove himself. It spoke volumes that Redknapp left him on the bench for QPR’s play-off final victory in 2014.
Morrison isn’t the first talented English player to squander such a great depth of talent and comparisons can be drawn with another midfielder from the 1990s. Billy Kenny burst onto the scene following a breath taking Merseyside Derby performance in 1992, the Everton academy graduate quickly earned accolades throughout the footballing world and like Morrison, comparisons with Paul Gascoigne quickly followed.
After a battle with drink and drugs the “Goodison Gazza” was sacked by Everton and wound up playing for Royal Seaforth in the Liverpool County Combination League, following short spells at Oldham and Barrow. Guardian journalist Rob Smyth listed Kenny as the number one in his list of lost footballing talents, Morrison looks set to be heading in the same direction.