Ravel Morrison admits he blew his chance at Man United
Former Old Trafford starlet with a bad boy reputation is rebuilding his career at Lazio after a string of court cases in England
Ravel Morrison, once seen as the epitome of the English football bad boy, insists that he has turned the corner as he rebuilds his career in Italy, but has admitted that he blew his chance to become a star with Manchester United.
In an interview with The Sun, the 22-year-old midfielder said he was given "too many chances" by former manager Alex Ferguson and ignored the advice of coaches and even Rio Ferdinand.
"I can only blame myself and not look for excuses," he said. But the player, who was reported to have underworld connections, denied that his career went off the rails for that reason and said it was down to a lack of application.
"A lot of the things I did wrong at United was silly stuff. It wasn't because I was involved in robberies. It was more messing about playing computer games and hanging out too much with my friends when I should have been more dedicated to training.
"Back then I had time-keeping issues, too... Even Rio Ferdinand took me to one side and said, 'You need to get out there 15 minutes before the session starts and stay later as well'. He was right, of course.
"To make it as a Manchester United player, or indeed at any top club, you must be more professional. But I had concentration and focus issues at that time."
Morrison, who came through the ranks at Old Trafford with Paul Pogba, eventually left Old Trafford in 2011 at the age of 18, even though he was "widely hailed as one of the brightest prospects to have emerged from Old Trafford in recent years," according to the Daily Telegraph, which quotes former Man Utd manager Alex Ferguson in his latest book, Leading, who wrote that Morrison "possessed as much natural talent as any youngster we ever signed".
But the paper recalls that "Morrison was beset by problems off the field during his spell at United: in 2011, he admitted two counts of witness intimidation and was also convicted of criminal damage after a row with his then-girlfriend. A year later, he was charged by the Football Association for posting homophobic comments on Twitter."
Earlier this year he was cleared of assaulting girlfriend and her mother in Manchester city centre, but was released by West Ham.
He signed for Italian club Lazio in the summer and "it is apt that Morrison chooses to repent his sins just down the road from the Vatican", says the Sun.