West Ham dismiss Morrison strike talk
West Ham assistant manager Neil McDonald has played down speculation that Ravel Morrison has demanded a move to Fulham.
• Mison: Fulham need signings
Fulham boss Rene Meulensteen, who worked with Morrison at Manchester United, confirmed earlier this week that a bid had been made for the England under-21 international, and added: “Yes, I think he does want to come.”
That bid was rejected, and the Hammers then reported Fulham to the Premier League, apparently for breaching rules on publicly declaring interest in a player under contract.
However, The Sun had claimed on Thursday that the 20-year-old, whose contract has 18 months left to run, had told West Ham he was ready to go on strike to force through the move.
Asked about the situation at a news conference, though, McDonald said: “It is all media reports and whatever has been said... I think the club and the Premier League are dealing with that so I'd prefer not to dwell on that anymore.
“There seems to be a story about Rav every week. The lad comes in and trains, sometimes he has had a little bit of a groin injury, but we've man-managed that. He trained on Wednesday with a huge, big smile on his face with the rest of the squad so [reports he may go on strike] are news to me.
“We look forward to him being in the squad on Saturday, he should be fit, he's been training with the lads and he's brought a lot of joy, especially with winning against Cardiff -- he cheered everyone up when he came back as well.”
Asked if the club wanted to keep the player, McDonald replied: “Well, why not? But he needs to get into the team and he needs to be consistent. I imagine every player has a price.
“He had a great run of three or four games where he was outstanding but he's a young kid and he's still learning the game. He goes through inconsistency to a certain extent and he's had a little bit of a groin injury as well so that's stop and start.”
Morrison has himself spoken to the club’s official website to insist he had not threatened to go on strike and was focused on recovering full fitness.
He said: “I've been working really hard over the past few weeks to get back to full fitness after missing a couple of recent games with a groin injury. I'm feeling fine now and I'm hoping to be involved in Saturday's important game with Newcastle and then the Capital One Cup semi-final with Manchester City on Tuesday.
“Although it is frustrating to read some of the reports in the media, I always try to keep my focus on the next game and show people with my performances on the pitch that I want to do well for West Ham United.”
Meulensteen was much more guarded when facing the press at Fulham's training ground on Thursday.
"I am not going to make any comments on [transfers] because it is going to get me into trouble," he said. "It is wiser at this moment in time that we are not going to comment on anything that is happening in regards to any transfer news or speculation.
"Things are in hand with the club, with [chief executive] Alistair Mackintosh."
Asked if there had been any formal communication from the Premier League about the complaint, Fulham's communications director Sarah Brookes stated: "We have only seen what you have seen. Up until anything further can be said, we will be making no further comment."
Information from the Press Association was used in this report.