Manchester United misfit Ravel Morrison looks to write a fairytale story for Wayne Rooney, with Derby just five points off safety after his double against Barnsley
- Ravel Morrison scored his first goals in English football for eight years
- Derby midfielder scored both goals in a 2-1 win over Barnsley on Saturday
- Now he can play a major role in one of football’s greatest ever great escapes
It wasn’t meant to be this way. Not really. Ravel Morrison was supposed to be lighting up Champions League nights, not Championship relegation fights, at 29.
But given where the former Manchester United starlet has been — in the dock, out of control, sight and mind — perhaps we should be grateful he is here at all. Derby fans certainly will be, after he scored his first English league goal for eight years, then his second of the afternoon, to see off Barnsley in a must-win dogfight on Saturday.
The first, in particular, was genius. After a rare Barnsley foray forward, Derby countered quickly, working the ball to the edge of the area. There Morrison seemed certain to take the ball in his stride, but instead dummied — deliberately letting it run through his legs and spinning into the box, leaving Mads Andersen for dead.
Derby midfielder Ravel Morrison scored his first goals in English football for eight years
Luke Plange found him, and Morrison found the net — chipping Bradley Collins to add insult to injury. It was a goal only one player on the pitch would have dared attempt, let alone pull off.
Later he would rattle the bar with a drive from outside the box, then went one better when he fired in Derby’s second after Tom Lawrence’s effort rebounded off the post.
Those moments of magic have been all too rare from a player Sir Alex Ferguson described as both the most naturally gifted youngster and ‘saddest case’ he dealt with at Old Trafford.
In his near-decade wait for another English league goal, Morrison had jaunts in Italy, Mexico, Sweden and Holland. Never truly settling, never leaving much of a mark. Now he has the chance to be a major player in one of football’s greatest ever great escapes, with Wayne Rooney’s Derby now just five points off safety.
Morrison produced moments of magic in Derby’s 2-1 win over Barnsley on Saturday
Their assistant Liam Rosenior said: ‘The way Ravel finished his two goals, as a coach they are the moments you’re in football for.
‘When you get to know Ravel, he’s a great man. His ability in training is outstanding, I mean world class. He was outstanding and we’re going to need him for the rest of the season.’
Morrison played down the weight of breaking his eight-year duck. ‘I’ve not been in the country for quite a while you know,’ he joked. But he added: ‘I’m finally off the mark. If we believe in ourselves, dig deep and fight as a team, we can do the impossible.’
If Derby do just that, and Morrison plays his part, one of football’s most cautionary tales will at least have a fairytale chapter.