Harry backs loan star to be a fu­ture Eng­land hero

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Stu­art Clarke

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.”

PIC­TURE: Pin­na­cle

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

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