I’ve got to be honest, I haven’t been so excited by a player in a West Ham shirt since Carlos Tevez, and I haven”t been excited by an English player in a West Ham shirt since……. I can’t remember.
This week however we have seen the first rumblings of interest from other clubs in Morrison and somewhat surprisingly it has been Fulham the interested party.
Of course, the Rene Meulensteen link is there for all to see, and Meulensteen himself hasn’t been shy (but maybe a little naive) in talking about that interest in Morrison this week.
“Yes, I think he does want to come [to Craven Cottage].”
“We have put in a bid that has been knocked back,” he said. “He would add pace, power, unpredictability and a real attacking threat.”
“We got knocked back, it got rejected, and so we need to review it and move on,” he said.
“I’ve explained how I think about the situation [to the Fulham board], so we’ll have to wait and see what happens.”
The retort today from the player himself was somewhat a little different.
“I always try to keep my focus on the next game and show people with my performances that I want to do well for West Ham United,” he said.
Morrison told West Ham’s website: “I’ve been working really hard over the past few weeks to get back to full fitness after missing a couple of recent games with a groin injury.
“I’m feeling fine now and I’m hoping to be involved in Saturday’s important game with Newcastle and then the Capital One Cup semi-final with Manchester City on Tuesday.”
Whatever happens in the remaining days/weeks of the transfer window my view remains, Ravel Morrison is an amazing talent: a genius, magical and in my opinion, and the most exciting English footballer there currently is.
For anyone that hasn’t seen much of him yet you will be thinking that I am looking at this through solely claret and blue spectacles but I can assure you, I’m not.
Let me just explain, I am paid for my ” opinion ” on football matches, on players as a Scout and watch in excess of 60 to 70 games per month at all levels across the globe on average and hundreds upon hundreds of players.
But this one is special and he just so happens to play for the team I support.
Having kept an eye on him whilst on loan at Birmingham last season, it was great to see him get game time above all else.
A cameo appearances and 10 minutes or so at Leeds for West Ham in 2011/12 was all we got to see in of him in claret and blue until this pre season, and a blitz of goals against the likes of Hamburg and Sporting Lisbon saw Morrison burst on the scene and announce his arrival to the big time.
The hardest part is trying to quantify the skill, the vision, the immaculate control of the ball and unfortunately it’s not just hard but virtually impossible.
For that we have to use our eyes and our memories, we have to enjoy both the simplistic beauty of the game and the player to really gauge how good this kid is.
But what we can quantify, we will look at in this article.
The first time I had the pleasure of seeing him start a game was earlier in the season against Cardiff City in the Capital One Cup.
What struck me the most was the close control, the vision and range of passing, seemingly flicking the ball all around the pitch both long and short with either foot, with such ease.
Attacking third passing accuracy always brings overall average passing accuracies down because of the risks taken when making them, even Mesut Ozil knocks the best part of 5% off of his overall passing average and Ravel does too, knocking his average down by 9%.
But his accuracy is still higher or at least on par with names that may surprise you, with Mark Noble, Michael Carrick and Oscar being just three.
In a frustrating season so far that West Ham have had a shortage of goals, Ravel is currently the club’s second leading scorer behind Carlton Cole ( 4 ).
His eye for goal has also recently moved on to international level, with two goals in two starts for the national side at Under 21 level.
His average of a goal every 370 minutes is good for a central/attacking midfielder and is currently better than the likes of Jack Wilshere, Phillipe Coutinho and Ross Barkley.
This is the part that will win games for club and country, if allowed to. This is the part that is so hard to quantify in total, as it’s just so difficult to calculate the amount of times Morrison takes a player, so effortlessly, out of the picture that is in parts of the field that doesn’t necessarily end with a chance creation, an assist or a shot on goal for himself or a team mate.
We don’t total the amount of times he looks to play a 10 yard pass to the left, yet somehow releases Stuart Downing on the right side whilst looking the other way.
We need to use our eyes and memory again for this part of his game to really understand how wonderful Ravel Morrison is as a footballer.
Given the reality of West Ham actually not playing a striker for the majority of Morrison’s minutes on the pitch this season, it doesn’t surprise me that he is averaging only one chance created per game roughly, from a central position. I expect that number to be bettered as Allardyce starts to introduce a focal point to the attack again, as he did with Maiga/Cole against Fulham in West Ham’s last home league victory, where Morrison created two chances in his 10 minutes on the pitch.
Morrison’s slight frame concerned me a little at the start of the season given the power of the Premier League and some of its central midfielders.
The concerns disappeared, however, after 18 minutes of the game against Manchester City at home when Morrison tracked Yaya Toure who was bursting out of midfield with the ball, went to ground with a sliding tackle to win the ball and left Toure in a crumpled heap on the ground.
There is no issue with Ravel Morrison doing what every other elite central midfielder has to do, defend for his team and win possession of the ball.
This is part of Morrison’s game that focus will be put on undoubtedly, however, it will be interesting to keep tabs on this area of Morrison’s game as he becomes physically stronger with age.
These numbers, largely, don’t tell us the full story about Ravel Morrison.
They give us an indication of his performance, exactly as they are supposed, but to understand the true beauty of the player, I would suggest that any football fan who hasn’t had the pleasure of watching Ravel Morrison to do so as soon as possible.
He is still young, he is still raw in certain areas, but my word is he talented with a ball at his feet and for me is the player that has excited me the most in a long time, and that is great news for an Englishman in a World Cup year.
What the experts say
Rio Ferdinand on Morrison –
‘I would pay to watch him train, let alone play in a match,’ said the 35-year-old, who first made his name at Upton Park.
‘Ever since the first day I saw him, my old boss (Sir Alex Ferguson) said ‘have a look at this boy’. He was taking the mick out of everyone on the pitch when he was about 14.
‘The manager thought he was the best player he had seen at that age.
He trained with the first team at about 16 and Darren Fletcher said to me ‘he runs with the ball, he just runs with it and he’s almost looking at me while he’s running with the ball, and waiting for me to make a move and then he reacts’.
‘The top players can do that, they react to a defender’s movements.’
Gary Neville on Morrison –
“He is an amazing player and can make a real impact. Never mind West Ham, he can make an impact anywhere.
“He’s a huge talent with amazing ability but he needs to concentrate on his game and keep his mind right.”
Sam Allardyce on Morrison –
“Its a nice goal for Ravel if he wants to have [the World Cup] at the back of his mind, saying: ‘I can get there.’
“I don’t think there is anything wrong with that dream. Without dreams you can’t be successful trying to achieve those dreams.
“So it should be a dream of his and can he make that dream a reality. Not too many people reach their ultimate goal in life.”