December 6 2013 Latest news:
By Nick Wright
Saturday, August 31, 2013
Manager Sam Allardyce is relieved West Ham took a gamble on Ravel Morrison and says the talented youngster is a changed man since taking a pay cut to join Birmingham City on loan last season.
West Ham signed Morrison from Manchester United in January 2012 despite an early career that was dogged by off-field controversies.
The midfielder was sent on loan to Birmingham last year, scoring three goals in 30 appearances, and he has impressed both on and off the pitch since returning to West Ham in the summer.
The 20-year-old produced a dazzling display in Tuesday’s Capital One Cup victory over Cheltenham, and although Allardyce admits he was a risky signing, he is delighted to see him finally fulfilling his potential.
“There’s a risk value to everything,” Allardyce said ahead of today’s clash against Stoke. “The chairman Mr Sullivan and Mr Gold were willing to take the gamble, if that’s what you want to call it, because of the size of the talent and to see whether we could help him along the way to develop that talent.
“When he first came it become more and more difficult because of his lack of involvement in the first team, which is what he wanted.
“Giving him first team football was the right decision for him, for us and at that time for Birmingham.
“He even went as far as to sacrifice some of his own salary to play for Birmingham. That spoke volumes for him to me.
“I want to play first team football and I will take less money to play first team football – I don’t think I have seen that for 15-20 years, so I am great admirer for someone who said that.
“Birmingham couldn’t afford his wages, we made a slight commitment and he made quite a big commitment.”
Allardyce has been impressed by Morrison’s new-found maturity.
“The lad has grown up, that’s the key element,” he said. “His time at Birmingham was a really good experience for him, because he felt leaving Man Utd that he would be going into West Ham’s first team.
“He went to Birmingham and he didn’t get in their team. And [Birmingham manager Lee] Clark said there are things he had to do to get in the team.
“I think by late November and December he started to get in the side, and from there he realised what he had to do and how he had to apply himself to play football on a regular basis at a first team level.
“He realised to stay in the team on a regular basis he would have to apply himself in all those area, which he did.”
The Hammers boss added: “It goes to show the beauty of the loan system in terms of developing your players for the level we play at – the Barclays Premier League.
“It is nearly the only way forward now, the step up from under-21s to Barclays Premier League is so huge that it can’t really be done, you have to be an exceptional talent to be able to make that transition now.
“A loan is the best way forward for experiencing first team football as we have seen many players at West Ham do before.”
Hull City manager Steve Bruce believes that Arsenal have the ability to win the league this season.