Ravel Morrison’s developed a bit of a reputation in his young career, so for many, seeing him in a headline will inspire a reflexive “what now?” Though the 20-year-old is on the verge of a breakout for West Ham, he’s better known for the issues that drove him out of Manchester United, issues that came to mind today after news he was involved in an on-field incident with a fellow England U-21 international.
That that international is a current Red Devils player provides some coincidental context, though what happened on the field yesterday against Lithuania is enough. During England’s 5-0 win in Ipswich, Wilfried Zaha reportedly confronted Morrison about his distribution. Put plainly, it seems Zaha felt Morrison wasn’t passing the ball as quick or as often as he could. When he took up the complaint, Nathan Redmond had to intervene to separate Morrison from Zaha.
“It was just a bit of a disagreement, nothing else. We got back in the changing room and sorted it out. You get that with teams everywhere, there is just a bit more of spotlight on this incident because it was for England. We sorted it out behind the scenes.”
“Rav’s a class player, sometimes he just has to move the ball a little bit quicker. Sometimes you do get a little bit frustrated with him but you just have to let Rav be Rav because of the things he is capable of.”
Morrison and Zaha did seem to have made up by match’s end, the two seen joking with each other after their team’s victory.
England U-21 coach Gareth Southgate, however, has taken note:
“It’s my job to bring them together as a group, which is going to be a test. We spoke about being a team before the game. We know the potential of the group of individuals.
“The key now is how we come together as a team and that will take time because there is a lot of focus on individuals. Sometimes there is pressure on individuals and one or two of those had a point to prove and did that very well.”
Zaha was purchased from Crystal Palace in January but didn’t join Manchester United until this summer. By that time, Morrison had already been at West Ham United for a year-and-a-half, the one-time Red Devils prospect sold to the London club after a series of off-field incidents in Manchester.
Reportedly, former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson felt Morrison, while talented, was never going to be able to succeed in Manchester, the midfielder having encountered legal trouble because of witness intimidation and a criminal damage conviction stemming from a domestic violence incident.
This season, U-21 incident aside, Morrison seems to be putting it all together. In six appearances for the Hammers, he’s already scored twice and is threatening to become one of Sam Allardyce’s more important players.
Here’s hoping today’s incident’s a one-off.