Sheffield Wednesday-linked Ravel Morrison 'better than Pogba', said Wayne Rooney.. so why he has struggled to hold down a club and why did he leave Sheffield United?
“He was brilliant. He was confident. He nutmegged Nemanja Vidic three times in the space of a minute in one training game. But he struggled with lifestyle and his environment.”
Those are the words Wayne Rooney used to describe the unique generational talent of Ravel Morrison who as a teenager at Manchester United had the world at his feet.
“I saw Paul Pogba come through, Jesse Lingard, all these players and Ravel was better than any of them by a country mile,” Rooney continued.
“Sir Alex Ferguson used to say the hardest thing in life is to work hard every day. Forget all your ability, strip everything back: if you can work hard every day, in whatever job you do, you'll be successful.”
It’s fair to say it hasn’t quite worked out for Morrison, now 28, in his career so far.
Moved on to West Ham in 2012, Ferguson told then-Hammers boss Sam Allardyce Morrison was “a brilliant footballer. Brilliant ability. Top class ability. Needs to get away from Manchester and start a new life.”
He hit the ground running and was reportedly close to an England call-up before a highly controversial rift with Allardyce saw him unexpectedly loaned out to Championship Birmingham City.
Since then, it has to be said, his career has been something of a procession. He’s played for Lazio, in Mexico for Atlas and in Sweden for Östersund. Last season he signed for Sheffield United, making one league appearance before he was loaned to Middlesbrough for the rest of the season.
His contract with Dutch club ADO Den Haag was cancelled by mutual consent in January and in recent weeks he has trained with Huddersfield Town.
Wednesday are the latest club to weigh up a move to bring his huge talent to the club. And speaking to Rio Ferdinand’s ‘FIVE’ podcast just last month Morrison, seemingly more grounded than before, opened up on why he feels he has struggled to set roots at a club in recent years.
Morrison said: “I think it's because a lot of people already have a picture in their head of what I am like, so people don't want to commit and say: 'We'll bring him to the club for two or three years'.
“They think: 'We'll give him six months because he might be a problem' and then it takes three weeks to get into the team, to gel and everything, and you're losing fitness because you're not playing games.”
On his departure from Sheffield United, he said: “Chris [Wilder] is a top manager, he's a manager all the players have respect for because he treats everyone the same.
“The only frustrating time with the time at Sheffield is that I wasn't get much game time because they were flying last year. They had great results and also had good players. Flecky [John Fleck] is unbelievable, they had him and Lunny [John Lundstram] in midfield, and David McGoldrick... they had a good team and they were all performing last year. As a team.
“So it was frustrating that I wasn't playing, because I would have liked to play in that team because I thought I could bring a lot to it.
“But with the results they were getting, you can't really complain.”