Sir Alex Ferguson says that Ravel Morrison was the “saddest case” he’s ever dealt with – a player with so much talent but consumed by his inner demons.

The former Manchester Utd manager said he gave the talented youngster “too many chances” but he “kept getting into trouble”.

Ultimately, Sir Alex gave up on him and off-loaded him to West Ham where he never really settled. He now plays midfield for Lazio, saying his time in east London almost made him quit football.

Writing in his latest book, Leading, Sir Alex said “It was very painful to sell him to West Ham in 2012 because he could have been a fantastic player. But, over a period of years, the problems off the pitch continued to escalate and we had little option but to cut the cord.”

Morrison was one of English football’s better prospects during his time at Old Trafford, but domestic issues prevented him from fulfilling his potential.

Sir Alex said: “Sadly, there are examples of players who have similar backgrounds to Giggs or Cristiano Ronaldo, who, despite enormous talent, just aren’t emotionally or mentally strong enough to overcome the hurts of their childhood.”

For his part, former England Under 21 Morrison has said that his time at Upton Park, which ended earlier this year, was frustrating. He had trouble breaking into the first team under Sam Allardyce and was shipped out on loan twice – to QPR and Cardiff City.

He told The Sun: “At times I wanted to stop playing because I felt I had done everything right to be playing in the team. I started to dislike the sport because it seemed it did not matter how hard I worked, I wasn’t in the side.”

The 22-year-old now plays for Lazio where he has so far made three substitute appearances.

“It makes me laugh when I hear some people saying I’ve made a backward step coming here,’ Morrison said. “Lazio is arguably, with no disrespect intended, a bigger club than West Ham.”