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The 20-year-old is showing his quality 18 months after being thrown out of Old Trafford following a string of indiscretions, ranging from witness intimidation to skipping training

EXCLUSIVE
By Danny Carlton

West Ham chairman David Gold can just about recall the days when Ravel Morrison never smiled, and the problems the former Manchester United prodigy had interacting with his Hammers team-mates.

He recalls how the troubled youngster's communication skills were still lacking, 18 months after being shipped out of Old Trafford with Sir Alex Ferguson declaring: "He needs to leave Manchester".

The suggestion was implicit; Morrison needed to change his surroundings, friends and accomplices - and although London's east end may not have been the most obvious destination, a change of scenery has certainly turned the 20-year-old's career, perhaps even life, around.

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A productive loan spell under Lee Clark at Birmingham certainly played its part, but Morrison still had teething problems to overcome in east London - until he was taken under the wings of Kevin Nolan and Mark Noble.

"Initially Ravel was uncomfortable with people - his relational skills weren't great," Gold told Goal. "But the Englishness of our dressing room helped.

"Kevin is a great dressing room leader and was determined to include him. Both he and Mark took a particular interest and invited him into their homes for meals.

"There was no particular policy set up to deal with him or his situation. It was all about doing the right things you would by anybody.

"Parts of Manchester are difficult and I take the point about the east end being perhaps the same but in Mark - who was born in Canning Town - Rav had a guy who knew how to guide and direct him."

A change of scenery and the intervention of Noble and Nolan, as well as manager Sam Allardyce, have certainly helped the 20-year-old begin to realise his vast potential. Even Gold has chipped in by making a point of regularly talking to the youngster, building and maintaining a relationship and making him feel wanted.

But the former Birmingham chairman believes Morrison himself has been the chief driving force behind his recent upturn in fortunes.

"Everybody played a part and we are seeing the result. But it has to be said that the turn around has come from Ravel himself," he added.

"As Sam puts it: 'The penny has dropped.' Ravel knows he can be whatever he wants to be and that this is a good club for him from many many points of view. Rav is a part of the place and he knows it."

Gold is thrilled to see Morrison enjoying his football and playing with a smile on his, something rarely witnessed around Carrington during his formative years.

"It's great to see," he added. "We hear so much of youngsters going the other way.

"We have had these great prospects at 14, 15 and 16 fail for whatever reason so to see Rav now coming out on top after the start he's had is brilliant. It's a story with a happy ending."

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