Ex-Manchester United defender, Rio Ferdinand has claimed that 23-year-old Ravel Morrison was the best academy player he has ever seen. Ferdinand went on to add that he was even idolised by Paul Pogba. This was indeed high praise from a player who got to see the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Joe Cole and Michael Carrick develop into fine players first hand.
Ferdinand in an interview with Copa 90 said, “Mentality, for me, outweighs talent. Look at Ravel Morrison, this guy was the best young kid I’ve ever seen in my life. Better than Joe Cole when he was a kid, he was doing circus tricks on a football pitch.”
The former West Ham and Leeds defender spoke highly about Morrison, “I’ve never seen a guy look so comfortable on a football pitch. But you can’t just have one element without the other, you’ve got to have everything. I’d love to see him have a chance again to come back and show everyone his talent. The kid was just different.”
The 23-year-old Englishman was destined for greatness, but attitude problems, coupled with a lack of professionalism and lack of effort have left the talented midfielder in the doldrums. After unsuccessful spells at West Ham United and Birmingham City, followed by loan spells at Queens Park Rangers and Cardiff, Morrison moved to Lazio at the end of the 14/15 season but has not had any game time and is expected to leave the club. Morrison has also represented England at the under 16, 17, 18 and 21 levels.
Pogba, on the other hand, was not as highly rated as Morrison when they both played in the Manchester United academy. After making just 3 appearances for the Red Devils, the Frenchman moved to Juventus in 2012 and has become one of the best players in the world. Pogba has reportedly agreed a £ 100m deal to come back to Manchester this season.
According to Ferdinand, the other youngsters at the academy used to look up to Morrison. “Pogba, (Adnan) Januzaj, (Jesse) Lingard, they used to look up to this boy. That’s what I’m saying, people don’t realise how good he was. Them boys used to look up to him like ‘woah, Ravel Morrison’.”
Manchester United, likely with Pogba in the squad, begin their Premier League campaign away at Bournemouth on Sunday, August 14th. Ravel Morrison’s Lazio meanwhile, kick off against Atalanta on 22nd August.
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