Ravel Morrison looking to finally realise his potential with Birmingham loan move
Despite his tender years, West Ham midfielder Ravel Morrison is a man who divides opinion.
Some fans are uncomfortable cheering a player who has already hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons during his burgeoning career, while others are prepared to turn a blind eye to his off-field misdemeanour’s if he performs on the field.
However, the 19-year-old has given West Ham supporters little reason to cheer since his £650,000 move from Manchester United on January transfer deadline day.
Since his transfer to Upton Park, the Manchester-born star has only made one substitute appearance, against Leeds United in March, as he struggled to break into Sam Allardyce’s promotion-chasing side.
Although the former Bolton boss may have been looking to gently integrate Morrison into the side, his decision to give the former Red Devils youth-team player so little playing time suggests that Morrison’s attitude also had something to do it.
In May 2011, Morrison was fined £600 by a court for throwing his girlfriend’s mobile phone through a window during an argument while still at United.
Meanwhile, he was fined £7,000 for using abusive language on Twitter earlier this year as he failed to shake off his “bad boy” tag following his transfer to the Hammers.
Allardyce has therefore agreed to send Morrison on a season-long loan to Birmingham City in a bid to give him more playing time and allow him to mature at St Andrews.
Lee Clark’s side is one that is perhaps lacking in flair, so Morrison could find himself turned to on a number of occasions when Birmingham are in trouble and looking for a bit of magic to get back into a match.
He certainly has the talent to do so.
As a youth player at Old Trafford, Morrison, along with Paul Pogba, was rated as one of the side’s most promising players as Sir Alex Ferguson looked to continue to blood young talent.
He made his first team debut in a 3–2 Carling Cup win over Wolverhampton Wanderers in October 2010 and made two more appearances in the competition during his time at United.
Morrison also played a key part in United’s Youth Cup triumph in 2011 as he scored once in the semi-final against Chelsea before bagging a brace in the second leg of the final against Sheffield United.
However, his relationship with Ferguson became fractured and the United boss felt that he would be best placed to fulfil his talent away from Manchester.
Allardyce and Irons fans alike will be hoping that this is still the case as he looks forward to the upcoming Championship season.
Laurence Taylor, Football correspondent