• Premier League

Morrison 'needed to get out of Manchester'

ESPN staff
October 8, 2013
Ravel Morrison trained with the England Under-21s on Tuesday © Getty Images

Manchester United were right to let Ravel Morrison leave the club, according to former assistant boss Mike Phelan.

Morrison netted a wonder goal for West Ham in their 3-0 win at White Hart Lane on Sunday having departed Old Trafford in January 2012 for an initial fee of £650,000.

The 20-year-old won the FA Youth Cup in 2011, scoring two goals in the final, but his time with United was blighted by behavioural issues, including several brushes with the law.

Morrison was cautioned for common assault in 2008, before pleading guilty to witness intimidation in February 2011. Three months later he received a £600 fine for tossing his girlfriend's phone through an open window during a row.

"He needed to get out of Manchester," Phelan told BBC Radio 5 live. "He has gone away from the club now which I think in hindsight is the correct thing to have done.

"It is easy to say we let our most promising player leave but is it worth the hassle to wait and maybe not see fruition to it?"

Sir Alex Ferguson ultimately sanctioned Morrison's departure to West Ham, believing the midfielder's wage demands to be "unrealistic".

After a loan move to Championship side Birmingham last season, he has netted four goals in eight games for West Ham this campaign, prompting manager Sam Allardyce to say that "the penny has dropped" with Morrison.

And Phelan, who left United after Ferguson retired at the end of last season, hopes Morrison does not suffer any more setbacks.

"It is still a risk with Ravel, but he seems to have got his head in the right situation, his performances are decent and getting better. Hopefully he can maintain that," Phelan added.

"At Manchester United there were other things going on which were a distraction for him and that played a part in his downfall. He had a tendency to disappear for the odd day or two and then we would manage to find him and bring him back in.

"It really was a day-to-day project with him. One day he was there and then another he wasn't. He is a nice guy when he is with you, when he is around football, but obviously there were distractions.

"At the end of the day is it too much work to put into one person and keep the harmony and the balance? That was a decision that the club had to make."

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