I played for Chelsea under Jose Mourinho but former Manchester United starlet is best wonderkid I’ve ever seen
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I played for Chelsea under Jose Mourinho but former Manchester United starlet is best wonderkid I’ve ever seen

Nov 12, 2023

Carlton Cole played alongside and against some of the greats of his Premier League era, as part of Jose Mourinho’s all-conquering Chelsea team and his beloved West Ham.

But there was one player who sticks out for him as the most talented he ever witnessed, and it’s a name and story many of you will know.

Cole is a West Ham legend but came through Chelsea's academy and was part of a Premier League title-winning squad under Mourinho

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Cole is a West Ham legend but came through Chelsea’s academy and was part of a Premier League title-winning squad under MourinhoCredit: Getty

Manchester United’s academy has produced a long list of world-class talents, including their famous ‘Class of ‘92’ which included David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville, as well Marcus Rashford and other modern age stars.

But none had the raw, prodigious skill of Ravel Morrison, whose career is an often-told tale of ‘what could have been’.

Cole was part of a discussion on talkSPORT about the most exciting Under-23s players in the Premier League right now, when conversation turned to Evan Ferguson.

The young Irishman is one of the brightest young stars in the Premier League today.

Read more talkSPORT exclusives

He already has a record of 15 senior goals for Brighton at the tender age of 19 and became only the fourth player in Premier League history to score a hat-trick aged 18 or younger, joining Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler.

The teen striker has the world at his feet with a big move surely to come in the future, although for the time being he’s set to stay put at Brighton, and under the tutelage of top-class coach Roberto de Zerbi, having signed a new long-term deal with the Seagulls.

There are plenty of prying eyes from the Premier League big boys on the striker, and Morrison’s career serves as a warning to any up-and-coming ace about what can happen if you take your eye off the ball.

Morrison was tipped for a huge future in the game during his spell at Old Trafford under Sir Alex Ferguson, but while he had undisputed world-beating talent, he didn’t have the application to make use of it.

Morrison was tipped to be a future star during his early career at Man United

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Morrison was tipped to be a future star during his early career at Man UnitedCredit: Getty Images
Morrison moved to America to sign for DC United in July 2022

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Morrison moved to America to sign for DC United in July 2022Credit: Getty

There were flashes of his brilliance during his United career and future spell at West Ham, but his attitude – which often rubbed his coached up the wrong way – has led to a journeyman career which has taken him to Italy, Mexico, Sweden, the Netherlands and now the United States, where the 30-year-old plays for Major League Soccer side DC United.

But, as Cole remembers, Morrison’s talent should have led to more.

Ravel Morrison says he didn’t feel pressure at Manchester United but insists he would do things differently if he had the chance

The former Chelsea and West Ham striker told talkSPORT: “I was fortunate to play with some great players in my career, and when I look back and I think who was young and had the world at his feet, the one player who sticks out for me is Ravel Morrison.

“Ravel Morrison was unbelievable. He was one of those players when you look at him you think, what’s going on? Why are you here at West Ham?!

“When you saw him in training alone and saw what he did to our players, to our defenders, he put them on their backsides regularly.

“His Cryuff turns, the way he moved the ball from left foot to right foot… it was just unbelievable.

“He’s top of my chart. When you see someone do what he did to players in training, seasoned pros, proper defenders, that’s when you think, ‘Can you convert this to the Premier League on a regular basis?’ Because there’s no reason why not.

“The only reason why he didn’t is because of him. It was just him. 

“There was nobody else getting in his way, but Ravel Morrison.”

Cole played with Morrison during the midfielder's spell at West Ham and was stunned by what he could do in training

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Cole played with Morrison during the midfielder’s spell at West Ham and was stunned by what he could do in trainingCredit: talkSPORT

Morrison has previously admitted to talkSPORT that there are a lot of things he would change about his behaviour during his early Old Trafford career if he had the chance.

“If I could go through my life again, there are a lot of things I would change,” he said during an interview with the station in 2020.

“I grew up at United, I was there from Under-9s, and I would skip training some days. I would wake up and just not go.

“But now it’s hard to get me off the training field, so if I would go back to those days I think it would have been a lot better.”


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