Monday, 4 March 2019

Dr Jekyll and Mr Morelos

We don’t deny yesterday’s meek display from Alfredo Morelos may have had a mitigating circumstance or two. The unspeakable banner from the home ‘fans’ may well have played on his mind and caused his rash conduct, stupid dive and general ineffectiveness, but given Morelos has played like this more times than we care to remember without any similar obvious provocation, it has to go down as one of ‘those’ matches that frustrate us so much about the Colombian.

Let’s be clear – when the lad is on his game, he’s exceptional. There’s a good reason he may well get his EPL move this summer ‘thanks’ to Brendan Rodgers’ interest in him, given when he’s in the zone he is a total handful, a lethal striker, impossible for defenders to deal with and a pain in their backsides.

He wins tonnes of fouls, he wins aerial battles and he generally plays for the team. Oh, and he scores a bunch too.

This is his great side – and doing it against Aberdeen, Rapid, Hearts, Osijek and other decent sides (not Celtic, yet) shows he can deliver on the bigger occasions too. This side is his £20M one.

Unfortunately he has the other side – the immature wee brat side, the petulant tempestuous bluster side, the one that gets wound up, that lets provocation get to him, and which loses focus badly. That is his Mr Hyde alter ego and Alfredo Morelos is the kind of player who wears his heart on his sleeve, like most Hispanic players do.

Unlike, however, his ‘mentor’ Daniel Candeias, he has developed a massive reputation for his conduct, where his older team mate has managed to keep his more red-blooded moments to a minimum and succeeded in not getting a reputation as a hot-headed idiot.

Not that Morelos has – we’re sure not saying he’s a genius, but he’s not stupid either – he’s just very emotional, and defenders play on it, as, now, do crowds.

Morelos isn’t going to grow out of this – he’s been this way since summer 2017 when he was coming up on 21. Almost two years later and if anything he’s actually gone back the way – 5 yellows in 14/15, 5 in 16/17, 12 in his first season at Ibrox, then 13 already this season with reds too. And before you completely blame Scottish referees, one of those reds was in Europe v Ufa.

Morelos’ temper and petulance seems to be a direct correlation of his maturity as a player. As he’s developed under Gerrard, who really has got some of the best out of him this season, in concert with that improvement in ability and as a player has been a parallel degradation in his attitude.

He has got more hot blooded as his quality of play has progressed.

So, in short, we have to take the rough Morelos with the smooth one too.

Is it worth it? Well, he wants to leave, and we’re getting to the point that while his repeated statements to that effect are getting very old, we can understand it too.

Glasgow is not for all players, nor is the SPL, and Morelos is certainly a target – some of this is of his own making, and some is just because of his profile.

So whether it is worth it or not, he’s here for as long as he’s here and we’ll get the rollercoaster of him whether we like it or not.

Hold on to your hats…
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