West Ham goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen has backed Ravel Morrison to fulfil his potential at the club after enjoying a successful loan spell at Birmingham City.
Morrison was considered on of the brightest prospects at Manchester United's youth academy but was subsequently let go after a number of personal misdemeanours forced Sir Alex Ferguson to sell him.
During a short career, the 20-year-old has been found guilty of witness intimidation, accused of assault and has been fined £7,000 by the FA for posting homophobic threats on Twitter.
After signing for West Ham in January 2012, Ferguson told reporters: "In the case of Ravel it's been quite well documented. I think he's better out of Manchester. He's got a great talent but it's how to deal with it that is important."
West Ham boss also revealed at the time to talkSPORT: "By the master's [Ferguson's] own words, he's one of the best he's ever had at that age."
Fair to say, the Hammers were taking a chance on the Old Trafford reject, knowing full well his personal problems could see his massive potential go to waste.
However, a successful loan spell at Birmingham, in which he played 27 games last season has given reason for hope.
The manager of the Championship club Lee Clarke recently described Morrison as “hard work and a constant challenge but worth it”, before adding: “For me, he’s the best young player this country has produced since Paul Gascoigne.”
The former Manchester United player returned to Upton Park in the summer and made his first Premier League start in the 0-0 draw against Southampton.
West Ham 'keeper believes the debut shows Morrison has turned a corner.
He told the Evening Standard: “He is a very talented young boy who has really come through over the last season. He was on loan at Birmingham and he played regularly – that’s the main thing when you are young player. You have to go and play games.
“There is no point going to a big football club and sitting on the bench, if you go to the lower leagues or the Championship, it is very good to get that experience in games and get better. You can see the benefit of that now.
“You always have to learn and he has to learn what are not his strengths,” said Jaaskelainen. “Talent-wise, he is absolutely brilliant and hopefully he can take into the game what he does in training and start performing at that high level.”
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