Ravel Morrison is the player United fans and former players spend the most time discussing when it comes to wasted potential. Of all the players coming up through the academy in the past couple of decades, he was the one we had the highest hopes for.

Speaking five years ago, Ferdinand reflected on the first time he saw Morrison play, with Sir Alex Ferguson asking him and Wayne Rooney to watch him.

Sir Alex Ferguson said “come and have a look at this kid”. Me and Wazza walked out and there was an Under-15 or Under-16 game going on. Fergie said he [Morrison] was the best kid he’d ever seen, better than Giggsy or anyone. He was just playing the game as and when he wanted to play. He would slow it down, then speed it up. It tells you something that when they were 15, 16, 17, Paul Pogba and Adnan Januzaj used to look up to him and idolise him.

After leaving United for West Ham when he was 18, he went on to sign for Lazio, Swedish side Östersunds, Sheffield United and ADO Den Haag in Holland, as well as loan spells at Birmingham, QPR, Cardiff and Middlesbrough.

Having represented England at at every level from U-16 to U-21, he made his debut for Jamaica in November 2020.

Last year, Rooney sung the praises of Morrison in his column in The Times, saying he was one of the most naturally talented footballers of his age he had ever seen, and was “better than Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard by a country mile”. However, Rooney also questioned his work ethic, attitude and mentality.

Speaking to TalkSport, Morrison reflected on what Rooney said, acknowledging the accuracy in Rooney’s summation.

Obviously they’re amazing comments, especially from the player he is; he’s probably one of the best ever to come out of England, if not the best. But it makes you a bit upset as well, because I could have gone a bit further, I should have gone a bit further and I’m still hoping to go further. I knew I had ability, but I didn’t realise and understand these players’ thoughts at the time. If I could sit down and go back through my life they’d be a lot of things I would change.

It was an every day thing for me when I was young, growing up at United, it was a nice environment to go into everyday with world-class players, it was enjoyable. And I know it’s poor, but because I was there from the under-9s I would skip training some days. I would wake up and I would just skip it, I don’t know why.

It’s hard to get me off the training field now, so if I took my life back to those days I think it would have been a lot better. I did lack in a few things and I’ve made mistakes. There were some things in my life when I was young that I now definitely would not do, I’d have gone down a different path.

Morrison was left without a club in January 2021 when his contract with ADO Den Haag was terminated by mutual consent, having made just five appearances for them.

However, former United player and current Derby manager, Rooney, offered the 28-year-old a lifeline at the start of the pre-season and Morrison has been training with them. He featured against United in Derby’s pre-season game a couple of weeks ago and was spotted having a chat with his pal Lingard before the game. Today, the club have announced he’s agreed a one-year deal with the club.

Good luck, Ravel.