Southgate hails 'creative thinker' Ravel Morrison

The England Under-21s says that the 20-year-old has earned his growing reputation and is excited by the prospect of a number of his country's similarly minded young attackers
England Under-21s manager Gareth Southgate was thrilled by West Ham midfielder Ravel Morrison's latest display of "creative thinking".

The 20-year-old's backheeled volley was captured on camera during the Young Lions' training session on Tuesday and was soon met with an awestruck response from thousands of viewers after being posted online.

When asked about the growing hype surrounding the ex-Manchester United playmaker, Southgate, far from playing down Morrison's talents, labelled the goal as consistent with the invention and imagination shown by a number of England's younger generation.

"It is not 'hype' when it is a video of something he has done," Southgate told reporters. "It is there for everyone to see what he is capable of. As a coach, I love the creativity of it because you could try a more straightforward finish and still not pull it off.

13/1 Ravel Morrison is 13/1 with BetVictor to score the first goal in West Ham v Chelsea
"It is not a case of being overelaborate. That was a finish that is just as hard if you hit it with a side-foot volley or you do what he did. He did what he did and it is an incredible goal. It is interesting, the mindset of a couple of our players, because they are creative thinkers, definitely."

Southgate's side sit atop their European Championship qualifying group after Thursday's dominant 3-0 win over Finland, although the Under-21s boss believes that it was not a performance without its faults, especially in attacking situations.

"I think, at times, in areas on Thursday we were overelaborate," he remarked. "There were simple passes on and we didn't play them.

"I think it is a ruthlessness [that we're missing]. We do some very exciting things and that is tempered by the fact the opposition, even at 2-0 down, didn't come out and try to open the game up at all.

"We are having to work in very tight areas around their penalty area but I think it would be fair to say, given the ability of the players we've got, we didn't create as much on Thursday as we have done in previous games.

"That is why I was a little bit disappointed afterwards and continue to push for more because that is the only way we are going to improve."