Who is Ravel Morrison and what will he bring to Sheffield United? All you need to know about ex-Man United star
Ravel Morrison’s appearance at Sheffield United has caused something of a stir, with the maverick former Manchester United youngster hoping to win at deal at Bramall Lane.
The youngster burst on to the scene at Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson, but has since had a chequered, controversial career.
Here’s what the player could bring to the Blades’ Premier League bid if Chris Wilder decides to offer him a permanent deal.
What’s his history?
Morrison was born in Manchester and joined United at a young age with Sir Alex Ferguson thought he was “the best kid you will ever see”. The talented teen helped the Red Devils win the FA Youth Cup in 2011 with two goals against the Blades in the second le of the final.
He made his first-team debut aged just 17 but the midfielder played just 67 minutes in total for the senior side, all in the League Cup, before Ferguson sold him to West Ham for £650,000 with the player two days shy of his 19th birthday.
From there, the player’s career drifted. He made just 18 starts for the Hammers, and was tipped for an England call-up under Roy Hodgson after a superb start to the season which included a sensational solo goal against Spurs, but a fall-out with Sam Allardyce meant Morrison was sent out on loan to Birmingham City. He impressed there under Lee Clark, and then had spells at fellow Championship sides QPR and Cardiff.
A shock move to Lazio on a free transfer in 2015 initially threatened to reignite his career but after a promising start, he fell out of favour and played just four times. Loan spells at QPR, again, and Mexican side Atlas followed, before a short-term contract with Ostersunds in Sweden earlier this year.
Is he a troublemaker?
Controversy dogged Morrison’s early career. In February 2011, barely three months after his United debut, he admitted two counts of intimidating a witness at Trafford youth court. He got off with a 12-month referral order and paying £1,445 in costs and compensation. An assault allegation made by his girlfriend and then dropped was followed by a conviction of criminal damage for throwing her mobile phone out of the window.
Since then, he has largely been trouble free, if not having the most professional attitude. “The biggest issue I had was with timekeeping,” he told the Times in an interview earlier this year. “Apart from that, it’s stuff from nearly 10 years ago, when I was a kid. People hear my name and in their mind there’s already a negative attached to it.
“I don’t go out drinking, causing trouble, drink-driving, smoking, taking drugs. Other players get away with those things. Can you imagine if I was done for drink-driving? If I do something, it sticks against me for ever. I made mistakes when I was young, but it’s nearly 10 years ago. Everyone makes mistakes when they’re young.”
Why are Sheffield United looking at him?
Blades manager Chris Wilder is looking to strengthen his squad ahead of their first season back in the Premier League, and Morrison will be given an opportunity to impress in pre-season.
Wilder has also said Morrison will go on the Blades’ pre-season trip to Portugal as he assesses whether the 27-year-old still has the quality to be a Premier League player.
At his best, Morrison has an ability to beat players and unlock a defence with a bit of skill or a decisive pass, which could be vital for United in the top flight.
Gary Neville, who saw Morrison in action as a youngster, told FourFourTwo: “Ravel Morrison’s ability was just a scandal.
“He was playing in a midfield three with Pogba and Ryan Tunnicliffe. All of them were outstanding, but Ravel was the principal game changer. He was an unbelievable talent, a Paul Gascoigne-type who could beat men and score some incredible goals. There are few players in central midfield who can beat people – Ravel could drift past them.”
Man United midfield legend Paddy Crerand saw almost all of Morrison’s games for the Red Devils’ youth and reserve team. He said: “Ravel was the best youngster I’d seen since George Best.
“Even in a side with Pogba, Ravel stood out. He was fast and had a quick football brain – everything a big star should have.”
Wilder will be hoping he can see a spark of that talent still within Morrison when he trains this week.
Is he fit?
Morrison has been training with close friend Jesse Lingard, who he grew up with at Man United, during the summer.
The pair came through the youth set-up at Old Trafford, along with Paul Pogba, and still stay in touch.
Morrison held talks with Rangers boss Steven Gerrard earlier this year, and a number of Championship teams have also enquired about the former England Under-21 international.