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Pogba & Lingard thriving at Man Utd but Morrison has no regrets at missing out

7:44 AM EST 2/16/19
Jesse Lingard Paul Pogba Man Utd Premier League
A man once held in the highest regard at Old Trafford has taken in a nomadic career while former youth team colleagues have become superstars

Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard have become talismanic figures at Manchester United, but fellow Old Trafford academy graduate Ravel Morrison has no regrets at having taken a different path.

Once considered by Sir Alex Ferguson to be “the best kid you will ever see”, a rather nomadic career has been experienced by a midfielder who was tipped for the very top.

Morrison was the star turn in the United side which lifted the 2011 FA Youth Cup, with the likes of Pogba and Lingard playing support roles.

But while the latter have gone on become senior internationals, with a World Cup win among their enviable collection of honours, a former team-mate now finds himself at Swedish side Ostersunds.

Morrison, who is still only 26 years of age, told The Times when asked if he ever wonders what could have been: “I'm in touch with Paul and I speak to Jesse all the time.

“They're doing great. I'm not going to turn around and think: ‘That could have been me. That should have been me’.

“Stuff happens. They're happy, I'm happy for them. I'm not going to be a spiteful or negative person. Life's too short for that.”

Since leaving United in 2012, Morrison has taken in spells at West Ham, Birmingham, Queens Park Rangers, Cardiff, Lazio and Mexican side Atlas.

He almost returned to British shores in January having held talks with Rangers boss Steven Gerrard about a possible deal at Ibrox.

“He's a legend in football and he was willing to sit down and have a really good conversation,” Morrison said of his meeting with the Liverpool icon.

“Certain old-school managers wouldn't have done that. My agent spoke to another manager, in the Championship, who just said ‘No, he won't fit in here’.

“It's just excuses. Too many managers say no because they have a bad image of me from things from 10 years ago.”

Morrison has seen his attitude questioned at times, but he has always just wanted to play football.

He hoped that a high-profile switch to Lazio in 2015 would allow him to do just that, but he endured a testing three years in Italy that delivered just a handful of first-team appearances.

“It just felt like everyone at Lazio was there for themselves,” said Morrison.

“I played a bit the first year. The second year was a joke. We had cup games where players who were 37/38 were getting picked ahead of me. 

“If you're there and you're not playing, it's very lonely place. It was difficult. At one stage my mum was very ill and they wouldn't let me fly home or, if I did, I had to be back the next day. 

“I could have understood if I was playing, but I was nowhere near the team. It upset me. I felt like giving up.”

Morrison now has the chance to rebuild his career at Ostersunds, with a short-term deal agreed through to the end of June.

Pogba and Lingard, meanwhile, are chasing down a top-four finish and more major honours with United.