Derby County manager Wayne Rooney came forward with a strong message that Ravel Morrison is "misunderstood" in the aftermath of scathing criticism from ex-Crystal Palace owner Simon Jordan.
Morrison's nomadic career was criticised heavily by Jordan, stating on TalkSport: "I don't think the penny has dropped; if it hasn't dropped at 26, or 28, it's never going to drop."
The mercurial attacking midfield player has shown glimpses of his talent for over a decade but has struggled to tie down a home for an extended period.
Morrison famously started his career with the Manchester United academy.
As a 14 year old, Sir Alex Ferguson dubbed him "the best player he had seen at that age", according to ex-Manchester United and England centre-back Rio Ferdinand.
Morrison played for Derby County in a 2-1 pre-season friendly defeat against his former club Manchester United on Sunday.
After the game, Rooney commented on how Morrison had been speedy to hit the ground running, lifting the levels of his teammates.
"I think with Ravel, he is very misunderstood," Rooney reflected post-match. "His ability is clear for everyone to see.
"Since he's been with us, the standards in training have gone up. There are things he does on and off the ball that I can recognise immediately. That's where he's brought the levels up in training.
"He showed some nice touches on the pitch against United but we need to remember he hasn't played for a very, very long time. So it was natural that physically he was going to tire."
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Jordan went on to reflect on players who have excelled in training, but failed to translate those performances on matchdays: "He doesn't stay anywhere and, the reason why he doesn't stay anywhere, is because nobody wants him to stay there. So why is this going to be any different?
"I don't mean to be disrespectful, but the world is full of incredibly talented players that can only leave it on the training ground."
The Jamaica international has been ridiculed by fans and managers alike for failing to realise his extraordinary potential.
Former boss at West Ham United, Sam Allardyce, described him as the "biggest waste of talent" he had experienced in football, after working with him for more than two years.
After his criticism of Morrison, Jordan turned his critique towards Manchester United's greatest ever goalscorer.
"The manager, to me, is clueless," Jordan exclaimed. "Every single player of stature can go into a dressing room and have influence if they take the managerial reigns for a period of time.
"When Rooney came in, because of the enigma and stuff that goes with him they get this bump.
"But 12 games before the end of the season, when you need a manager who knows what they are doing, you cannot buy a worse run than they went on under Rooney."
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