West Ham’s preseason journey has provided an opportunity to observe the squad’s performance against British, Irish, German and Portuguese opposition.
This has proven a valuable chance for the otherwise conservative Sam Allardyce to test out some of our rising stars and new signings. While Ratzvan Rat has looked a solid acquisition, Dan Potts has demonstrated that he has the skill to cope at the highest level, Alou Diarra looks keen and even happy to be back amongst the Bubbles boys, but to date surely the most impressive has been Ravel Morrison.
Morrison’s arrival has been well documented as being under a cloud after Alex Ferguson finally lost patience with his attitudinal and behavioural issues and it was thought that a change of location might bring some much-needed distance from unhelpful influences in Manchester. Initial experiences suggested that little had changed, with the FA rapping his knuckles for an ill-advised tweet and amid rumours of problems in his relationship with other squad members,
Morrison was duly farmed out to Lee Clark at Birmingham City to try and provide first team football to focus his energies upon. After an initially stormy period, Morrison broke in to the team and was much lauded in the local press However, the Blues desire to hold on to Morrision has not been realised as it seems that Big Sam sees a significant future for young Morrison at West Ham. In response, Ravel has not disappointed in pre-season with consistently excellent performances and an impressive haul of four goals, including an excellent longrange Rivaldo-esque strike along with a headed goal in last night’s defeat of Sporting Lisbon.
Moreover, Morrison was clearly deserving of the man of the match award for his all-round performance which was merely the latest in a series of whole-hearted efforts in the claret and blue. Even the missed penalty demonstrated his growing maturity and willingness to take on responsibility. So where to next — happily the Hammers have multiple options in midfield with the impressive Diame-NobleNolan combination well tested at Premiership level last season.
In addition, Jack Collison has impressed as has Alou Diarra, with some reports suggesting that Diarra may be off-loaded to facilitate the return of Scott Parker. This seems unwise given Parker’s injury problems and increasing age, while there can be no doubt that Diarra has looked impressive. In short, who knows where we will be when the transfer window madness finally comes to a close?
For now, Morrison just needs to keep strutting his on-field stuff and keep out of trouble. At just 20 years with the world seemingly at his feet maybe the canny Scot got it wrong for once? Or maybe he decided to do his good mate Big Sam a favour with a bit of generosity before heading off in to the sunset? Either way, Morrison’s signing for a modest £1million is starting to look like a gamble that could really pay off!