MINOR ROLE MAKES MORRIS MOTOR
By Rupert Webster
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
This season, Morris has found his first-team opportunities limited, due to the emergence of Italian prodigy Sam Dalla Bona and the return to fitness of Gustavo Poyet. It is all a far cry from last term when Morris' impressive performances earmarked him as a future Blues captain and England regular.
Morris played a part in all but eight of Chelsea's league fixtures last season and showed his composure on the ball by finding a team-mate with 76% of his passes and 35% of his crosses - both well above average for a top-flight midfielder.
Despite Morris' limited appearances this term, he has still managed to improve on his distribution, finding a team-mate with 81% of his passes and playing three defence splitting through balls to date. Indeed, in the clash against Manchester United at Old Trafford, Morris found a team-mate with a staggering 96% of his passes - the best rating of any Chelsea player in any match this season.
Morris' passing figures are significantly better than Leicester's average ratings for the 2000-01 campaign, indicating that the 21-year-old could be a great acquisition for the Foxes.
Although the Foxes have made a promising start to the 2000-01 campaign, they have been accused of being somewhat static in midfield. Of their central midfield trio of Neil Lennon and Robbie Savage, and Muzzy Izzet, only the latter scored more than one league goal last term. And if Morris can reproduce his shooting accuracy of 53% at Leicester, he should easily add to the three league goals that he managed last term.
Indeed, such was Morris' progress last season, that former manager Gianluca Vialli handed him the captaincy during the 2-1 win over Coventry, and indicated that the youngster would take on that role permanently in the future.
However, Vialli has departed and new boss Claudio Ranieri has consigned Morris to a fringe-role part Stamford Bridge. He has started just five league matches this term, and perhaps significantly, has been on the winning side only once.
This lack of first-team opportunities appears to have unsettled Morris to the point where he is prepared to leave the club and link up with Taylor, who showed great faith in the 21-year-old during his time as England under-21 boss.