Ravel Morrison interest a concern for West Ham manager Sam Allardyce

The former Manchester United midfielder has begun to display his true potential

Sam Allardyce will limit the limelight for midfielder Ravel Morrison as the West Ham manager looks to keep his feet on the ground and give the youngster a chance to make it to the World Cup.

Morrison, 20, has impressed during the early stages of the season and has already scored three Barclays Premier League goals.

The former Manchester United youngster has long been touted as a future England star but has flourished later than expected due to his off-field behaviour.

But a loan spell at Birmingham last year after Morrison moved to West Ham from United seems to have straightened out those issues, although Allardyce is still willing to remain patient as he looks to nurture the talent further.

"I have to be careful with the amount of publicity that Rav gets," he said.

"To make sure that we just continue his growth slowly and continue him playing in the team to the level he's playing and try to get him better and then there is no distraction that might put a young man off at this stage of his career, which can happen.

"They can have their ups and downs, they burst on to the scene, they can get lavished with praise and then lose their focus and, when they lose their focus, they can dip away again, and I don't really want that."

Morrison's current form earned him his first caps for the England Under-21 side and there were fears his hot-headed side had reared once again following an on-pitch altercation with team-mate Wilfried Zaha.

The midfielder struck two goals in the 5-0 win over Lithuania but was also seen arguing and raising a hand towards Zaha after a disagreement over who should take a late penalty.

Allardyce dismissed the coming together as "handbags" before suggesting a place in Roy Hodgson's World Cup squad is not beyond reach for Morrison, if he can keep hold of his place in the Hammers' midfield.

"It's a little early to tell," he said.

"But I think if he continues to be a regular player with our first team then I can't see any reason why he wouldn't get noticed and maybe be pushing that way.

"But, at the moment, he's just started with the Under-21s and, of course, he's played well in those games but they were little or no competition there so I'd have expected that.

"Like I said, he's in our team, he's really enjoying his football with the rest of the lads here."

As well as Morrison, Allardyce feels there are a number of other players amongst the ranks at Upton Park who could yet force their way on the plane to Brazil next summer.

Stewart Downing and Joe Cole will retain hopes of a strong campaign to give Hodgson something to think about whilst Allardyce believes the chance to earn a spot in England's 23-man squad will give Andy Carroll an extra boost as he looks to recover from his troublesome heel injury.

"I think that we have several international players in our squad," Allardyce added.

"The Andy Carrolls of this world will want to get fit and play for West Ham as quickly as he possibly can with the back of his mind saying that the World Cup is coming and that he would like to be a part of that squad.

"Whether anybody else will show to be good enough to do that will have to be up to them and how they perform between now and the end of the season.

"I think that, for us, it's about those players and all the players delivering on a regular basis, to have a very, very good season.

"And, when that happens, you have to be noticed by Roy Hodgson and his staff. So, we'll wait and see, and hopefully we'll continue to grow as a team and continue to hopefully get some of those players to catch the eye."

Carroll will again be sidelined for Saturday's visit of Manchester City but Morrison, who struck the pick of the goals in West Ham's memorable 3-0 win over Tottenham, will be looking to star again to keep his name in the headlines.

PA

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