BBC Sport – Ravel Morrison: West Ham midfielder in Italy for Lazio talks

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West Ham midfielder Ravel Morrison has travelled to Italy for talks with a view to signing a pre-contract agreement with Lazio, with the Premier League club’s consent.

It had been

reported the Hammers had blocked Morrison, 21, from travelling 

to Italy over a breach of his contract.


Ravel Morrison scores an incredible volley in training for England U21s

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Morrison’s amazing backheel volley

However, it is understood the delay was down to existing training commitments.

If he signs for Lazio they would become Morrison’s sixth club in a career blemished by

off-field controversies.

Earlier this month the Crown Prosecution Service

dropped all charges

against the England Under-21 international pertaining to allegations that he assaulted his former girlfriend and her mother.

Morrison would become the first Englishman to play for Lazio since Paul Gascoigne’s spell with with the Italian outfit from 1992 to 1995, should the deal go through.

Here BBC Sport looks at the ups and downs of Morrison’s career.

‘Better out of Manchester’

Ravel Morrison

Ex-Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson said Morrison was “better out of Manchester”

Former United manager

Sir Alex Ferguson once claimed 

the 14-year-old Morrison was the most talented youngster he had seen at the club since the schoolboy Paul Scholes and handed him a first-team debut in the League Cup in 2010 against Wolves.

Morrison won the FA Youth Cup with United, but only managed a further two senior appearances in the League Cup in the 2011-12 campaign.

With his contract set to expire in the summer of 2012, Ferguson allowed

Morrison to join West Ham

in January of that year. Ferguson labelled the player’s contract demands “unrealistic” and said he was “better out of Manchester” because of his troubles away from football.

A temperamental talent, transformed…

Ravel Morrison

Morrison was branded “the best footballer since Gascoigne” by former Blues boss Lee Clark in 2014

After just one appearance in the Championship in the 2011-12 season for West Ham following his transfer to Upton Park, Hammers boss Sam Allardyce sent Morrison out on a season-long loan to Birmingham City in the following campaign.

The then Birmingham boss, Lee Clark, praised Morrison for

transforming his approach

to football after the player overcame an uncertain start to life at St Andrew’s, in which Clark considered terminating the loan, to become a consistent performer.

“The conversation we had a couple of weeks ago seems to have done the trick,” Clark told BBC WM in October 2012 as he insisted the player had turned a corner.

“Since then he’s been nothing short of brilliant in terms of his application and his attitude.”

Flawed genius

Ravel Morrison

Morrison has been described as “a fantastic talent” by QPR boss Harry Redknapp

Morrison forced his way into Allardyce’s team in the first half of the 2013-14 season and produced some

eye-catching performances

as he scored five goals in his first 12 games for the Hammers.

The playmaker’s most memorable goal came in

West Ham’s 3-0 win over Tottenham

in October 2013 when he effortlessly glided from his own half and through the Spurs defence before ending the run with a chipped finish. Allardyce described it as a “bit of genius” and said Morrison had “sorted himself out”.

Broken relationship

Morrison was

called up to the England Under-21 squad

the same month, but he subsequently fell out of favour with Allardyce, who claimed the player

overstated minor injury problems.

Allardyce also

denied allegations in the Guardian newspaper 

that his relationship had broken down with Morrison in relation to a disagreement over agents.

‘Greatest player since Gascoigne’

Ravel Morrison

The precocious performer scored six goals in 17 appearances for QPR

Despite Morrison’s early season form for West Ham, which saw him talked of as a possible contender for England’s 2014 World Cup squad and helped him draw

praise from Roy Hodgson,

his differences with Allardyce saw him sent on loan to Championship side QPR in February 2014.

Alluding to Morrison and Everton’s Ross Barkley, Hodgson told BBC Radio 5 live’s Sportsweek in December 2013: “These two must realise we do have great faith in them and enormous admiration for their talent.”

After Morrison scored two brilliant goals in

QPR’s 2-0 win over Birmingham

, Blues boss Lee Clark labelled him

“the best footballer since Paul Gascoigne”

. Clark had been a former team-mate of Gascoigne at Newcastle.

Under Harry Redknapp’s management Morrison played a key role in QPR’s promotion-winning campaign and finished the season with a combined total of 11 goals in 38 appearances for QPR and West Ham.

The loan ranger

Ravel Morrison

Morrison has made seven appearances for Cardiff City in his loan spell at the Welsh club

A couple of appearances for West Ham at the start of the 2014-15 season suggested Morrison was back in Allardyce’s thoughts, but he was then loaned out for a third time to a second tier club

in September 2014 when he joined Cardiff

on a three-month deal.

Morrison

revealed he had started to learn French 

while at the Welsh club, but

returned to West Ham early

because of personal reasons.

Allardyce said following Morrison’s return to Upton Park that he was in despair at

watching the 21-year-old “wasting his talent”. 

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