One to Watch - James Morrison
Name: James Morrison
Date of Birth: 25/5/1986
Former Clubs: Middlesbrough
League Appearances (Goals): 209 (21)
International Appearances (Goals): 23 (1)
Stat of the Day: James Morrison scored the 1000th Premier League goal of 2011
Player Profile: Middlesbrough have an impressive record of producing talented players, and James Morrison, who is no less gifted than a Stewart Downing or Adam Johnson, often slips under the radar and frequently finds himself described as 'underrated`. The attacking midfielder has already played an integral part in West Brom`s flying start to the season and has been the mainstay of the Baggies yo-yo past few seasons between the Premier League and Championship, currently performing as West Brom`s longest serving player. While consistency of selection has plagued West Brom`s forwards, Morrison`s place in Steve Clarke`s midfield looks assured. Stationed 'in the hole` behind, more often than not, Shane Long, the Scotland international adds the creativity to West Brom`s sturdy foundations provided by Claudia Yacob and Youssuf Mulumbu.
West Brom fans rate James Morrison extremely highly and were delighted when the 26-year-old signed a new four year contract at the beginning of the season. His vision and passing ability is one of his strengths, and whilst many attacking players of such ilk may find scoring goals one of their biggest hindrances, Morrison often pops up with important goals. Saturday will by no means be easy, and Morrison will be at the centre of everything for West Brom making them tick.
James Morrison was a product of the Middlesbrough youth academy, coming through their ranks since 1998 and starring in their FA Youth Cup winning side in 2004, scoring two crucial goals in their 3-0 final first leg win over Villa. He made his first team debut in 2004, coming on as a second half substitute in a 2-0 FA Cup victory over Notts County. His Premier League debut came four months later and he soon became an important part of the Middlesbrough side, starting the 2006 UEFA Cup Final against Sevilla.
Morrison joined WBA in a £1.5 million deal in August 2007, possibly rising a further £700 000 depending on appearances. He showed his versatility during his first season at The Hawthorns with a string of impressive displays across the midfield. The midfielder suffered a frustrating 2009/2010 season as he had to wait until March to end a ten-month lay off with injury, but has since become a vital part of the current West Brom side, making 143 league appearances scoring 18 goals.
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