Six years ago, Ravel Morrison was earning the plaudits in a Manchester United midfield that contained the star who would become the most expensive footballer on the planet.
Morrison was the star of United’s Youth Cup-winning side, shining ahead of Paul Pogba.
Now, the midfielder is training with Birmingham City with a view to a move from Lazio.
Harry Redknapp, who managed Morrison at QPR, has taken him on trial as he looks to add a more creative element to his squad.
But how did the playmaker end up at Blues for a second time?
Here’s a closer look at the Ravel story.
Signing as a scholar before penning professional terms on his 17th birthday, Morrison was considered to be among the brightest prospects in the country.
The United youngster’s class earned plaudits from some of the big names at the club with Rio Ferdinand revealing just how highly Sir Alex Ferguson viewed his potential.
He said: “I would pay to watch him train let alone play in a match.”
Morrison made two more League Cup appearances, as well as featuring regularly for the youth sides, before he moved to West Ham United against a backdrop of mounting off-field issues.
United midfield legend Paddy Crerand said: “Ravel was the best youngster I’d seen since George Best.
“Even in a side with Pogba, Ravel stood out. He was fast and had a quick football brain – everything a big star should have.”
Morrison made the switch to West Ham in January 2012, signing a three-and-a-half-year contract.
I hope you can sort him out, because if you can he will be a genius,” Ferguson told then-Hammers manager Sam Allardyce.
“He’s a brilliant player,” the Scot said.
“Brilliant ability, top-class ability. He needs to get away from Manchester – start a new life.”
Morrison made one appearance during the second half of the 2011/12 season before heading on loan to Blues for the 2012/13 campaign.
The former England U21 international played 30 games on loan at Birmingham when Lee Clark was in charge.
Despite reports of off-field problems which kept him out of the side, Morrison was able to return to the first team to showcase his ability with a number of fine individual performances.
Morrison returned to West Ham, was handed a squad number and scored his first goal for the club on his full debut against Cheltenham Town in August 2013.
Less a month later, he had bagged his first Premier League goal and two weeks after that, scored an outstanding individual effort against Tottenham at White Hart Lane, which Allardyce described as “genius”.
Morrison then headed on loan to Redknapp’s QPR, with his first goals coming in a 2-0 win against Blues.
He went on to achieve promotion with the Hoops, scoring an impressive 13 goals in 33 starts across the season.
Despite a strong season, he was sent out on loan again, this time to Cardiff City, before he left West Ham to join Lazio in 2015.
Back to Blues
Morrison spent the second half of last season on loan at QPR and with only eight Lazio appearances to his name since joining the Italian club in 2015, looks set to be on the move again this summer.
The 24-year-old has featured in each of Blues’ three first-team friendlies so far, and produces his most compelling performance against Oxford United on Saturday.
What has Harry Redknapp said?
“He belongs to Lazio and we just took Ravel for a few weeks to have a look at him,” Redknapp said.
“He’s a talent Ravel, he’s a good player. And every manager always thinks they are the one who’s going to turn him around.
“Alex Ferguson said to me ‘I’ve got a kid here, 12 years of age, he’s the best schoolboy footballer I’ve ever seen in my life’.
“But he’s never reached the heights that everybody hoped he would. As managers we are always the ones who think we can get it out of him.
“I got it out of him for a spell at QPR, he did well for me.
“I like him, he’s not a bad lad, he’s not trouble, he’s a harmless boy, a smashing boy, he would stay out on the training ground all day playing football if you’d let him.
“I am hoping he does well enough to earn a short term deal with us. But there will be no sentiment. I won’t take him just because I like him.
“I will only take him if can play a part in us go where we want to go.”
Redknapp will continue to run the rule over him ahead of the August kick-off, and has admitted that he hopes Morrison can do enough to secure a contract.
The boss intends to keep him for the time being – and if he impresses it is thought Lazio can be persuaded into a loan deal.
Source : BirminghamMail