Here comes the future

Last Thursday night, West Hamís Ravel Morrison made his debut for the England Under 21 side and helped the Three Lions to a comfortable 4-0 win away at San Marino.

The Hammers' latest hero has been a revelation for Sam Allardyce during the early stages of the season and a string of scintillating performances have been duly rewarded with the inclusion in Gareth Southgate's new look squad.

Morrison started the game for England, wearing the number 10 shirt, and lasted around an hour before being replaced by Jesse Lingard - who is coincidentally on loan at Birmingham, where Ravel made a name for himself last year whilst also on loan - with Southgate's side already 2-0 ahead against a ten man San Marino.

Although it is hard to get too carried away with a performance against one of football's minnows, Morrison looked more than comfortable alongside the likes of Raheem Sterling and the young Hammer will hope to feature again on Tuesday as the Under 21s take on Lithuania at Portman Road. Whilst he didn't get on the score sheet, Ravel did test the Sammarinese goalkeeper with a decent effort and also displayed flashes of skill that have seen him become a fan favourite at The Boleyn Ground.

The 20-year-old has really impressed for West Ham this term, initially with a goal in the Capital One Cup against Cheltenham (which was later followed up by another against Cardiff in the subsequent third round) and then by scoring the opener against Everton in the league.
Morrison has gained praise from pundits all season but it was the breath-taking solo effort against Tottenham that has shot our latest idol into national spotlight and suddenly he is being touted as the future of the English game. Should he continue at this rate, you'd have to be a brave man to bet against it.

His off the field problems were well documented during his time at Manchester United and many critics questioned whether the midfielder could ever reach his true potential. However, since trading Old Trafford for The Boleyn the player has knuckled down and made huge strides as he matures into one of the Premier League's most exciting young prospects.

The aforementioned loan spell at Birmingham has unquestionably had a positive outcome on Morrison. Not only did the season-long move afford the lively midfielder a chance to gain valuable match time but the physical nature of The Championship has hardened the player into a real athlete.

He may have left West Ham a boy, but he's certainly returned a man and looks more than ready for life in the top-flight.

Seven games into the Premier League season, Ravel has been a revelation for Sam Allardyce. That goal of the season contender against Tottenham was just a glimpse of the talent that the boy clearly has and it's frightening to think how good he may become. Morrison has been a catalyst for The Hammers so far, particularly in the absence of Andy Carroll, bringing something fresh to the table every single time he steps onto the pitch.

You only need to listen to the praise offered by his colleagues and manager to understand how highly the youngster is regarded and clearly big things are expected for his future. It's very rare that you find a player with that amount of flair who can also spot a pass but when you do it can be a deadly combination.

For all the individual ability of our latest superstar, nobody could ever brandish him as a selfish player and he always does what's best for the team. His work ethic in training is reportedly of the highest standard too and it finally seems that this phenomenal potential is going to be realised over the coming years.

As for England's Under 21s, the comfortable victory over San Marino leaves them with seven points from three games and a win on Tuesday would put Southgate's side in the driving seat of Group 1 as they bid to qualify for Euro 2015.

Should England qualify for that tournament in eighteen months' time, they'll no doubt want to make amends for the poor showing in Israel last summer where they lost all three games. If they do make it to the Czech Republic, then Morrison is almost certain to play a key role.

Secretly though, the young Hammer may even harbour hopes of being on the flight to Brazil next summer (assuming we beat Poland on Tuesday) and it would not come as a surprise if Roy Hodgson gave the 20-year-old a senior debut in the forthcoming friendlies as England prepare for another World Cup adventure.

Morrison's inclusion in the Under 21s is another big step as he continues to develop into one of the country's finest young talent, which can only be good for the future of the national side, and indeed the future of West Ham.

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