What Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock has told Manchester United academy graduate Ravel Morrison about ex-Chelsea man Victor Moses

Ravel Morrison started his first game under Neil Warnock in a 1-0 defeat by QPR.Ravel Morrison started his first game under Neil Warnock in a 1-0 defeat by QPR.
Ravel Morrison started his first game under Neil Warnock in a 1-0 defeat by QPR.
Neil Warncok isn’t the first manager to stumble upon the divisive figure of Ravel Morrison.

Since leaving Manchester United in 2012, the club where he came through the academy and was described by Sir Alex Ferguson as the best kid he’d ever seen, the 27-year-old has played for nine different sides from four different countries, yet still his talent seems unfulfilled.

Now on loan at Middlesbrough, Morrison’s career remains at a crossroads, playing for a team in the thick of a Championship relegation battle, without much of an indication what next season will bring.

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The boss who signed him, Jonathan Woodgate, was dismissed as Boro’s head coach last month, when the Teessiders swiftly turned to Warnock in a desperate attempt to beat the drop.

The 71-year-old may only be in charge until the end of the campaign and doesn’t have long to work with his players due to a congested fixture list.

Yet Warnock has seen players like Morrison before and, crucially, transformed their careers.

Whether this scenario is too little too late remains to be seen, yet Warnock is certainly prepared to give Morrison a chance after starting the playmaker in Sunday’s 1-0 defeat by QPR.

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“I actually had a chat with him yesterday about certain things,” said Warnock on the eve of the game. “He has a big decision in his life to make I think in the next six months.

“Somebody with that ability shouldn’t be messing about from club to club should he. When I look at (Adel) Taarabt who I had at QPR it was a similar situation.

“I don’t think his ability is in question, I think Ravel has got to brush up on other parts because it would be a waste if he couldn’t get a regular place somewhere and display his ability, within a team structure not just as an individual.

“Before the end of the campaign if I can give him an opportunity I will do but Ravel has to do it himself.”

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Morrison’s critics haven’t held back when discussing his much-hyped ability, with his former West Ham boss, Sam Allardyce, describing the midfielder as the ‘biggest waste of talent’ he’d ever worked with.

Warnock’s message has therefore been clear, it’s up to Morrison to show his ability.

“That’s what I said to him yesterday, all these managers can’t be wrong, you’ve got to now see where you want to go,” Warnock added.

“You can keep going round the houses from one club after another or you can try and make a statement, whether it’s Middlesbrough or his next club I don’t know but he’s got to decide what he wants to do.

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“It’s a great life, wow if I had his ability. He did something on the training ground yesterday and I wish someone had filmed it because I couldn’t work out how he did it.

“He went past somebody with a shimmy and it was amazing. I hadn’t seen anything like it since Taarabt or I think Victor Moses did something like that at one stage.”

Warnock hopes his stories about the aforementioned players will provide inspiration for Morrison, especially with Boro in such a perilous position.

The Teessiders slipped back into the relegation zone over the weekend and once again lacked a creative attacking spark against QPR.

Morrison was substituted after 66 minutes though.

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“You are never too late to change,” added Warnock when discussing Morrison’s potential. “I spoke to him about Victor Moses who was an almost player when I gave him his debut, he never really grafted, he didn’t tackle, he didn’t do this and that.

“Then one night we were playing at Cardiff and I said you have a decision to make, this is your night really, it was chucking it down with rain. I said ‘you have to show every attribute tonight’, and he did and we won 1-0.

“I remember putting my arm around him and saying this is what you have to do now week in week out, you can do this.

“A few years later he played wing-back for Chelsea and was at the Africa Cup of Nations with Nigeria and was man of the competition.

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“I remember the last game and texting him, it was the middle of the night in England. I texted him as he was coming off the pitch and within five minutes he texted me back.

“I said ‘can you remember Cardiff City son’ and he texted me back ‘gaffer I can never forget it.’ Things like that, that’s what I enjoy, seeing people go on and Rav’s got that ability.”

Like Morrison, Taarabt and Moses were both renowned for their flair and trickery, yet Warnock has also made it clear the team must come first.

The Boro boss will just be hoping the message sinks in.

“If he can’t see like Victor did and Taarabt did, he ended up having a great season with me and then going abroad and getting good contracts and that’s what Ravel has got to do,” Warnock added.

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“It’s not just about him, it’s about him working with the team and using his ability because it’s a great life being a footballer, especially when you have his ability.”

Warnock isn’t the first manager to be quizzed on Morrison’s talent and capabilities. It’s down to the player to find the answers.