Martin Smith: Former Blades boss Neil Warnock can be the man to get Middlesbrough and Ravel Morrison going

He has a huge job on those battle-hardened hands.

Monday, 6th July 2020, 1:55 pm
Updated Monday, 6th July 2020, 1:57 pm
Neil Warnock. Photo: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Neil Warnock is closing in on 40 years as a football manager and the 71-year-old former Sheffield United boss needs to get Middlesborough going after two defeats in his first three games.

Some of those that got the club in difficulties will be sidelined but Warnock has players who can help him to turn things round.

One of those is the much-travelled former Blade Ravel Morrison, now aged 28.

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Will the league’s second oldest manager have the accumulated wisdom to get the best from Morrison where others, including Sir Alex Ferguson and lastly Chris Wilder, have failed?

Morrison’s sublime talent is only matched by his inability to show enough consistency to hold down a regular place.

It may be that the demands of the next few weeks at the industrial end of the Championship will not match Morrison’s skill set.

But managers will always take a chance on genuine talent if there is hope that the necessary intensity and industry can also be coaxed from a gifted individual.

There’s not much time left for Boro or Morrison.

But if anyone can, Neil Warnock can.

*If John Egan, or anyone else for that matter, ever hits a football better than he did for Sheffield United's late equaliser on Sunday at Turf Moor I want to be there.

Anyone who’s ever played the game knows the feeling when you catch one just right and it flies true.

The contact is so sweet you hardly feel your foot hit the ball.

The trouble is that most of us can only do it now and again, once a season, once a lifetime in many cases.

Top players do it most of the time, but none will do it better than that.

*Congratulations to Jamie Vardy on his 100 Premier League goals.

Vardy played non-league football until he was 25 and is remembered with affection and a few wry grins at Stocksbridge Park Steels.

The 33-year-old’s caffeine-fuelled energy is well documented and the former Sheffield Wednesday trainee has always brought personality and his own brand of intensity to the game.

That he was eventually rewarded with 26 England caps and a Premier League winner’s medal makes his achievements all the more astonishing and gives hope to those playing outside the football league.

All they need is lightning speed, fantastic awareness and a gift for scoring goals.