Manchester United Were Right to Let Ravel Morrison Leave
It will have been difficult for Manchester United fans flicking through the international results on Tuesday night to stop themselves wondering what might have been.
It's a natural reaction when two of your former academy players are making their mark on the world stage.
In less than 18 months, Paul Pogba was gone from United reserve to French international.
He's playing regularly for Juventus in Serie A and the Champions League, and this week played 90 minutes for France in their 3-0 win over Finland.
Should they safely negotiate the playoffs, he'll be part of Didier Deschamps' squad in Brazil.
He's still only 20.
Mention of Ravel Morrison's name is also making some fans wince.
Now at West Ham, he followed up a wonderful individual goal against Tottenham with two for England's Under-21s in their 5-0 win over Lithuania on Tuesday night.
More performances like that, and he'll be knocking on the door to join Pogba at this summer's World Cup.
He doesn't turn 21 until February.
It makes it more painful that Morrison and Pogba are both central midfielders, the one area in which United are short of quality.
But the two cases are different.
There's a sense around Old Trafford that Pogba could have been convinced to stay.
During the 2011/12 season, United were short in midfielder, and Pogba was on the fringes of the first-team.
But instead of handing the 2011 Youth Cup winner his big chance, Paul Scholes came out of retirement for the second half the season.
Six months later, Pogba was playing in Italy.
The majority of fans were delighted to have Scholes back.
But bringing a 37-year-old out of retirement sends the wrong message to a hopeful youngster.
Morrison is different.
Born in Wythenshawe, and at United since being boy, on the surface he was an ideal candidate to be at Old Trafford for life—not unlike Scholes before him.
But off-field problems meant that Manchester was perhaps the one place Morrison could never make it.
It's only now, free from the distractions that hampered his progress in his home town, that he's started the transformation from bad boy to poster boy.
Sometimes, things just don't work out, and Morrison's United career falls into that category.
Diego Forlan struggled in England but scored goals by the bagful in Spain for Villarreal and Atletico Madrid.
Kleberson was a World Cup winner when he arrived at United in 2003, but he only made 20 Premier League appearances before disappearing to Besiktas.
Should Manchester United have done more to keep Ravel Morrison?
For whatever reason, sometimes, things just aren't to be.
United fans have cause to be angry that Pogba is not at Old Trafford to fulfil his potential.
If the situation had been handled differently, he might have become a star in Manchester rather than in Turin.
But Sir Alex Ferguson and his staff will tell you they did everything they could to get Morrison on the right track. In the end, a transfer to West Ham was best for both parties.
It's hard for United fans to watch Pogba play for Juventus and France, because he would have flourished at United.
For Morrison, it was anywhere but.
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