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Can Ravel Morrison take advantage of Sheffield United chance?

Sunday 21st July 2019
Ravel Morrison Sheffield United Ios Toby Prince

Ravel Morrison's career didn't follow the path anyone envisioned. Attitude issues and sub-par performances exiled him to lesser leagues in several countries. The former Manchester United youth star burned bridges everywhere he went. Now, Sheffield United offer Ravel Morrison a Premier League lifeline. The 26-year-old needs no extra motivation at Bramall Lane. He must take advantage of this unmerited second chance or return to obscurity.

Two summers ago, this move would be a mere fantasy. At the time, the midfielder found himself scraping the bottom of the opportunity barrel in Mexico. He joined Atlas, becoming only the second Englishman to appear in Liga MX. The other was Chester-born Antonio Pedroza. He was born to a Mexican father and raised there. Morrison didn't know a burro from a burrito.

Striving to salvage a chequered, peripatetic career, he swapped a Championship dogfight with Queens Park Rangers to enter the fray in the second half of the split Liga MX campaign. The move was daring but didn't exactly pay off. Morrison managed just over 1300 minutes in 25 appearances for the Guadalajara club. He scored a pedestrian three goals, not much better than one every five full matches.

His Central American adventure ended in July 2018. So did his experiment with Lazio. Morrison was without a club for the first time. Almost eight months later, Swedish side Ostersund came to his aid, offering a chance to train in Marbella. It went well. Morrison penned a six-month contract.

There, he linked up with English manager Ian Burchnall, Graham Potter's replacement at the Jamtkraft Arena. An injury limited him to just six Allsvenskan appearances before his contract expired last month. He failed to make the scoresheet in 404 minutes. Ostersunds didn't think twice about allowing him to leave. The Daily Mail quoted a club official.

 We have no contact with him anymore. He packed up his things when it was summer vacation and nothing speaks for him coming back.

Morrison's biggest undoing is his failure to capitalise on opportunities. There is no debilitating injury behind his failure to come good. he just never lived up to his potential.

At Manchester United, he was rated as one of the best young players to come through the academy during Sir Alex Ferguson's time as manager. He scored twice in the 2011 FA Youth Cup final which also featured Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard. Although he was the shining star, it was the other two who applied themselves.

After four first-team appearances at Old Trafford, he moved to West Ham in 2012. Questions then surfaced about his attitude. He fell out with Sam Allardyce who later described him as "the biggest waste of talent I ever worked with". It marked the beginning of the end for the Mancunian at Upton Park. His contract was eventually terminated in February 2015 after just 24 appearances.

Morrison was farmed out on loan to gain some first-team experience three times during his spell with the Hammers. At Birmingham, Queens Park Rangers and Cardiff City, the script was the same. He failed to live up to expectations. The first foray into continental Europe at Lazio in January 2015 didn't change anything. The Rome outfit loaned him to QPR again, then Atlas.

Blades boss Chris Wilder is looking to strengthen his squad ahead of their first season back in the Premier League. Morrison was given an opportunity to impress in pre-season. The sight of the 26-year-old rang alarm bells in the media but not for Wilder.

The manager was utterly impressed by the midfielder during his trial. At his best, Morrison could beat players and unlock a defence with a bit of skill or a decisive pass. He could beat men and score some incredible goals himself. There are few players in central midfield who pose such a threat. 

As is always the case with prodigious talent unrealised, the 26-year-old has another chance to prove he can live up to the hype. It's difficult to imagine he'll get another if he lets this one slip away.

Football Fixtures
Toby Prince

If the sport has 11-men on each side, a ball and lasts for 90 minutes then I'll write about it. Simply put, I'm an unrepentant soccer freak that other freaks will, however, call a geek. I do find time for music when not watching the beautiful game, though and have been known to produce the odd track. 

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