Wayne Rooney believes former Manchester United midfielder Ravel Morrison was a “country mile” better than the likes of Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard.
Rooney admitted that the separate paths the duo have taken in their careers as professionals shows how skill can only get you so far at the highest level if application is lacking.
Morrison was signed by the Red Devils in 2009 and made his first-team debut one year later at the age of 17. Unable to secure regular football, Morrison moved to West Ham in 2012 before joining Serie A side Lazio three years later.
Currently contracted to Premier League side Sheffield United but on loan at Middlesbrough, Morrison has struggled to live up to his early hype with Rooney suggesting he had skills that could have made him a superstar.
“I remember watching Ravel Morrison thinking he had everything required for a player in his position,” Rooney wrote in his Sunday Times column.
Rooney added, “He (Ravel) nutmegged Nemanja Vidic three times in the space of a minute in one training game. But he struggled with lifestyle and his environment which was sad for him — because I saw Paul Pogba come through, Jesse Lingard, all these players and Ravel was better than any of them by a country mile.”
Revealing the importance of discipline which Ravel lacked, Rooney said, “He’s proof that you can’t escape the fact there are guidelines every player has to obey in professional football. Then you think how far you can go by being ultra-professional. Gary Neville, for instance. Gary’s not a great football player but he worked in every minute of every training session and made the most of everything he had. “
He concluded, “Sir Alex Ferguson used to say the hardest thing in life is to work hard every day. Forget all your ability, strip everything back: if you can work hard every day, in whatever job you do, you’ll be successful.”
Pogba left United for Juventus, but was brought back to Old Trafford for a then world record £89million following a trophy-laden spell in Turin. Although he has been injured for most of this season, the World Cup winner is being courted by Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, and Juventus themselves.