There are certain things in football that seem to be inevitable. Y’know, like Wilfried Zaha flirting with the idea of leaving Crystal Palace or Graeme Souness not liking Paul Pogba’s new haircut.
One thing in football that has become a bit of an inevitability in recent years is that Ravel Morrison – no matter how undeserving – will find himself a club where he’s finally going to show the world how good a footballer he can be, only to leave a few months later having done absolutely nothing.
However, has he now, finally, blown his last chance?
The former Manchester United man has amassed an incredible ten different clubs during his senior playing career, including two spells at Queens Park Rangers.
At just 27 years of age, Morrison has already played in Italy, Mexico and Sweden, yet has mustered just 104 league appearances in his ten-year career, averaging just over ten games a season.
The nomadic midfielder – whose agent is surely in line for a knighthood in the New Year’s honours list – somehow managed to land himself a deal with Premier League side Sheffield United last summer, only to be shipped off to the Championship with Middlesbrough in January, having made just four appearances for Chris Wilder’s side.
Seven months on from joining the second-tier club, and low and behold he’s off again, having made just three starts in seven months.
Despite Boro languishing towards the bottom end of the Championship, everything was set up for Morrison on Teesside. This was the perfect opportunity to finally prove he could cut it at a decent level, and instead he showed absolutely no stomach for the fight.
Morrison joined a Boro team lacking in any sort of creativity, with fellow-January recruit Patrick Roberts suffering a nasty injury which would see him sidelined for the majority of the season.
The loss of Roberts saw Boro in dire need of a forward-thinking midfielder. They were in need of a spark, something different, someone who could provide a bit of magic and unlock a defence – Morrison was the man tasked with providing said spark, though his time on Teesside was far from electric.
The Blades loanee showed brief flashes of the brilliance that had been speculated throughout his career in his debut for the club away at Wigan. However, as Boro’s troubling slide down the table began to pick up pace, Morrison’s interest evidently took a nose-dive with them.
A completely uninterested performance away at bottom-side Barnsley was enough to see the 27-year-old pushed aside in Jonathan Woodgate’s plans, and he wouldn’t figure again under the former Boro boss.
Morrison’s inability to prosper under Woodgate is the latest in a long list of examples to suggest he’s never going to showcase his true talent.
While Woodgate’s defensive ineptitude as a coach was evident throughout his maiden season in management, he talked much of his desire to bring attacking football to the Riverside. The free-flowing style never developed, though not for want of trying, with Boro’s passing stats markedly higher than they had been the previous season.
However, without a nimble-footed number ten to unlock defences, the new-found slick build-up play was utterly futile. Boro’s hopes were hung on Morrison being that man, but he wasn’t interested in being burdened with the responsibility.
The sacking of Woodgate saw Neil Warnock arrive at the club. This was Morrison’s second chance to prove his worth at the club, though again he failed to live up to the hype.
Warnock is often lambasted for his negative approach, but his track-record with maverick players is far from negative.
After all, it was he who unlocked the potential of former Tottenham man Adel Taarabt, with the Moroccan notching 19 league goals to fire QPR to promotion in 2011.
While Roberts has flourished under Warnock since returning from injury, showing a desire and a willingness to help drag the club away from the drop zone and scoring a crucial winner in the club’s win over Reading, Morrison looked completely disinterested when given his only game time under Warnock at home to QPR.
With the Boro boss clearly unwilling to pander to Morrison’s attitude, the midfielder wasn’t even named on the bench against Cardiff for the final home game of the season, with Warnock instead opting to name just seven substitutes out of a possible nine.
It’s often said that cats have nine lives, and Morrison has just blown his 11th, with no news of an extension of his one-year Blades deal in the offing. There are only so many chances a professional footballer can be given, and Morrison may not have many more chances ahead of him.