WATCH RAVEL REVEL AS NEXT GAZZA
Harry backs loan star to be a future England hero
WHEN Roy Hodgson names his England squad for this summer’s World Cup tomorrow it’s hard not to wonder what might have been for Harry Redknapp.
The bookies’ favourite to replace Fabio Capello little over two years ago, Redknapp will be picking QPR’s team for their Championship play-off semi-final second leg against Wigan rather than the Three Lions’ in Brazil next month.
But he isn’t the only one at Loftus Road who had dreams of World Cup glory, with Ravel Morrison propelled into the limelight after his wonder-goal against Tottenham in October.
The former Manchester United bad-boy turned potential England star has continued to excel since joining Rangers on loan from West Ham in February, netting six times in 15 appearances before the play-offs.
Birmingham boss Lee Clark said in March Morrison “is the best footballer since Paul Gascoigne”, and clamours were made for his inclusion in Hodgson’s 23-man squad.
And while it would be a monumental surprise to see 21-year-old Morrison’s name on the plane for Brazil, Redknapp insists the temperamental midfielder has the talent to be a future England hero.
“He’s a real talent, he’s got the ability to become a top player as long as he keeps focused,” said Redknapp. “He has done very well and we’re pleased with him. His ability is up there with the best in the country.
“This World Cup has come too soon for him but in four years time I would hope that he’s in the England squad.
“But it’s up to Ravel – only he can make sure he keeps his eye on the job at hand and if he does that he will go far.
“He’s a cracking lad and I’ve found him a nice kid, there’s not been a minute’s problem since he arrived.”
Morrison’s undoubted talent has always been accompanied by concerns over the trouble he found off the field, most seriously when he narrowly escaped a prison sentence for witness intimidation in 2011.
Sir Alex Ferguson thought he was the best 14-year-old since Paul Scholes, but still shipped him out of Old Trafford in January 2012.
A move to London has seemingly brought the best out of England U21 international Morrison, though, and Redknapp expects to see him flourish next season.
“He’s not been a problem since he arrived,” added Redknapp. “I spoke to Lee Clark at Birmingham and he absolutely loved having him there last season.
“(West Ham manager) Sam Allardyce likes him as well but he just felt that they were going in a situation which required him to go down another road and Ravel wasn’t going to play.
“I’m grateful that they let him come to us on loan. Hopefully he’s got a great future and I’d love to see him do well.”
Morrison this week declared on Twitter his intention to return to West Ham next term, and he’s likely to be one player on a long list of departures from Loftus Road.
Stephane Mbia is on loan at Sevilla and scored the stoppagetime winner which sent the Spanish side roaring into the Europa League final last week.
He, like Julio Cesar, Adel Taarabt and Loic Remy, are still on QPR’s books and are being courted by some of the biggest clubs in Europe – and Redknapp expects to have seen the last of all of them.
“The players that were on the higher wages were ones that I inherited in the Premier League,” continued Redknapp.
“They weren’t on massive wages for a Premier League team. I don’t pay the wages, I don’t get involved in that side of things.
“I’ve not thought about any players for next season at all, because we don’t know what league we’re going to be in. Any signings depend on where you are and what division you’re going to be in.
“I honestly don’t know if (Mbia) will be back. I wasn’t involved in talking to Sevilla, but because of his wages we had to let him go.
“He would have been a big player in this division, there’s no doubt about that. I always felt he would be a real powerhouse in the Championship if he stayed, but he wanted to move.
“He didn’t want to play in the Championship and it’s the same with Loic Remy, Adel Taarabt and Julio Cesar – they decided that they wanted to move on.
“They were on big wages and they wanted to move so it was difficult to keep them.”
MORR OF THAT! Ravel Morrison has been a huge hit on loan at QPR this season
EXIT DOOR? Stephane Mbia, left, and Adel Taarabt are expected to depart Loftus Road this summer