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English Football Association charges West Ham midfielder Morrison over gay slur on Twitter

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LONDON - Offloaded by Manchester United after a series of disciplinary issues, 19-year-old West Ham midfielder Ravel Morrison is now facing a charge from the English Football Association over a tweet.

Morrison is accused of using "abusive and/or insulting words including a reference to a person's sexual orientation," the FA said Wednesday.

The tweet was posted a week after Morrison left United after a contract dispute that saw manager Alex Ferguson complain his "demands are unrealistic."

Morrison wasn't exactly in a strong negotiating position.

United's website does still describe Morrison as a "supremely gifted talent: a skilful, creative midfielder capable of scoring and making goals." But the glowing two-page appraisal on "a player of prodigious talent" could have filled as much space with his checkered disciplinary record.

On Twitter, he would complain about his lack of first-team action at United and said a club awards dinner was "a complete joke."

But United supported him through troubles with the police — some of which ended up in court — in the expectation that he would emulate David Beckham and Ryan Giggs and be the latest star to emerge from the club academy.

"He has the potential to be one of the real stars of his generation," United says on its website. "There is much work still to be done before meeting such lofty expectations."

But United ran out of patience, giving up on waiting for Morrison to mature — on and off the field.

"We all know he has got the ability, it's just whether we think that ability can go into the first team right away," West Ham manager Sam Allardyce said. "If yes, then he can play between now and the end of the season. If not, we'll develop him for the start of next season."

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