United prodigy told to seek counselling
Manchester United prodigy Ravel Morrison will undergo domestic violence counselling after his third assault charge in as many years was dropped when his girlfriend refused to testify.
The 18-year-old, who is the club's most highly rated young talent and scored twice in Monday night's FA Youth Cup final win over Sheffield United, faced the prospect of a prison sentence yesterday, when charged with assaulting his then 16-year-old girlfriend Reah Dixon after a row over text messages.
Morrison was still under a referral order, which he had been warned was his "last chance", when he admitted two charges of intimidating a witness earlier this year.
The court heard that Morrison had been cautioned for assaulting his mother, Sharon Ryan, as a 15-year-old in 2008 and that a previous charge of assault against Ms Dixon, now 17, two years ago was also dropped because she refused to go ahead as a witness.
There was no assault case to answer yesterday, leaving Morrison to admit to a criminal charge for throwing his girlfriend's mobile phone out of the window of her parents' house in a fit of temper.
Despite hearing that Morrison and Ryan would be heading away on holiday together next month -- evidence, according to his barrister that theirs was a relationship which did not need further investigation -- Judge Feinstein told Morrison that his actions had been "unacceptable".
Morrison, who receives £3,400 a month after tax under the terms of his professional contract, was fined £600, ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge and £85 costs.
United, meanwhile, have confirmed they are close to signing 20-year-old Atletico Madrid goalkeeper David De Gea.
De Gea made 45 appearances for Atletico this season, keeping 24 clean sheets.
United had been linked with Schalke's Manuel Neuer, but the Germany international had made clear his desire to stay in his homeland. (© Independent News Service)