After the England international team confirmed their place at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, national manager Roy Hodgson admitted that he was hoping to allow some uncapped and inexperienced players to star in the friendlies with Chile, Germany and Denmark before the tournament. Many pundits were expecting West Ham United central midfielder Ravel Morrison to be called up to Hodgson’s senior team.
The former Manchester United bad-boy has impressed in the opening part of the season since making his Premier League debut in the home defeat to Stoke City. Morrison, 20, has since been called up to the under21s set-up and has been a great success in Gareth Southgate’s team.
However, an on-field altercation with Manchester United winger Wilfried Zaha against Lithuania dented Morrison’s reputation. Sam Allardyce has been pleased with the midfielder since he broke his starting XI in September and I think he really has gone from strength to strength since. He has also proved to be a threat in front of goal as he has scored with all three shots he has had this season.
Those goals included a deflected effort against Everton, a fantastic solo goal in the unforgettable victory over Tottenham Hotspur and most recently a tap-in at Norwich City. It came as a surprise to many when they saw that the former Birmingham City loanee had not been included in Hodgson’s squad to face Chile and Germany at Wembley Stadium but, it may turnout to be a good decision both for the Wythenshaweborn man and his club.
Firstly, Morrison is still relatively inexperienced and may need a little more time before being put under more pressure. He has only recently broken into the under-21 side after appearing at under-16, 17 and 18 levels. Therefore, it may be best if he continues in the under-21 side for some time before making the step up. Also, if Ravel impresses on the international stage, then it may result in him moving away from the Boleyn Ground.
With the January transfer window opening in just over a month, two good performances against Chile and Germany could have resulted in a manager from one of the ‘top four’ taking note of West Ham’s talisman. That would be bad news for Allardyce as the midfielder, who signed for only £600,000 in January 2012, has been showing real potential.
It would not be ideal for Morrison to leave in January, as he is arguably West Ham’s most creative midfielder at the moment. Furthermore, it may result in Morrison becoming overconfident. He may have reason to be confident in his ability, as one of the greatest football managers of all time, Sir Alex Ferguson, once described him as one of the brightest footballers he had seen come through the Manchester club’s academy.
Ferguson also commented that Morrison was ‘a brilliant footballer, brilliant ability, top class ability, but needs to get away from Manchester and start a new life’. But a call-up to the international side may see Ravel become a bad-boy once again as he could become over-confident. Finally, West Ham supporters may be relieved to see that Morrison was not selected for England because it means he will not get injured while training with the national side at London Colney and St. George’s Park
In recent years, the Hammers faithful have seen Dean Ashton’s career forced to an end after he sustained a serious injury on international duty. It would be extremely unfortunate if another Hammers star was to suffer an injury as serious as that again but by Morrison not being involved, it diminishes the opportunity. It is clear that it may be good for West Ham and Ravel Morrison himself that he may have to wait a little longer to make his international debut for the England senior team.