Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp claims West Ham United's highly-rated Ravel Morrison has the class of Gareth Bale, but that his attitude is preventing him from fulfilling his enormous potential.
Considered one of Manchester United’s brightest prospects before moving to Upton Park at the start of 2012, off-field issues have continued to disrupt Morrison’s career, but the under-21 international has shown clear signs of his undoubted promise over the past few seasons.
Currently on loan at Cardiff City after falling out of favour with Hammers boss Sam Allardyce, the maverick midfielder spent the second-half of last season with QPR and, though he endured his fair share of struggles, Redknapp insists that he saw enough to convince him that he had a real gem on his hands.
‘Sir Alex Ferguson said he [Morrison] was the most naturally gifted player he had seen at Manchester United since Paul Scholes - and then sold him because he could do nothing with him,’ he wrote in his new book A Man Walks On To a Pitch –serialised in the Sportsmail.
‘By the time we came to the end of the season, though, he couldn’t get in our starting line-up.
‘There was one game last season when we’d lost confidence and were losing. I asked him to change his position, to play on the left. His face fell into a petulant pout.
‘I pulled him away from the rest, took him outside and explained as patiently as the time allowed. “Ravel, we are losing the ******* game,” I said. “I just want you to play there and do a job for the team. We have to win the game. It’s not about you, OK? It’s about the team.”
‘”People look at your face in there when I’ve asked you to do something, and they will all go away and think you are a big-headed *******, because your attitude stinks. That’s what people say about you.”
‘Second half he was absolutely different class. He ran the game, everything good we did came from him and we were all watching it thinking, ‘‘what a talent’’. You looked at that performance and thought he could get us promoted on his own if he put his mind to it. It was like watching a player with Gareth Bale’s class in the Championship.
‘Lee Clark, the Birmingham City manager, said to Ravel that he was the best player since Gazza. His response: “Who’s Gazza?”
‘Should that surprise us? Admittedly that World Cup in Italy is 24 years ago now, and Ravel is 21, but however long ago it was I think he can be expected to know who Paul Gascoigne is. But it does show you that when you’ve gone, when you’ve had your day, nobody cares.
‘If Morrison had played consistently at his best, he might have gone to the World Cup; on his bad days you wouldn’t have put him in our reserve team.’