Former Millwall captain Steve Morison said he was the reason he failed to live up to expectations at Leeds United.

The ex-Lions striker, who is now at Shrewsbury Town, left The Den to join Norwich City in 2011 before being shipped to Elland Road in a swap deal with Luciano Becchio.

But Morison, 36, who then-manager Neil Warnock said could become a legendary figure at the club, struggled to make the impact many had hoped for.

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In a remarkably candid interview with The Athletic, he said: “I failed at Leeds, I totally get that. I failed because of myself, not because of anyone else.

“I don’t need to tell you how much of a mess the club was [at the time], that’s a given, but I messed up. I made bad choice and I failed.

“I was trying to prove a point without having the body to prove it. I was fighting a mental battle to prove people wrong. Physically, I couldn’t do it.”

In a tumultuous first season with Leeds, which saw him work under three different managers, Morison managed just three goals in 16 games.

Warnock, who tipped him to become a ‘Leeds legend’ before he had played a match, left in mid-April before caretaker boss Neil Redfearn steadied the ship for under a fortnight.

Brian McDermott would become the third and final Leeds manager that season and sent Morison out on loan to Millwall.

He was also battling with a groin injury he admitted to having pushed too far, causing his performances to suffer and fans to get on his back.

The move to West Yorkshire came as a complete surprise to him as well, as he recalled being told of the news while at home a day before training.

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Steve Morison celebrates with team-mates David Norris (left) and Paul Green. Photo: Adam Davy / PA

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He added: “Did I want to go to Leeds? No, I didn’t. Ultimately, my hand was forced. Getting a phone call on a Wednesday to say, ‘By the way, we’ve just done a swap deal with Luciano Becchio and you’re doing the other direction’ was a shock.

“I was at home. I was getting ready to train the next day. I’d had conversations with the manager [Chris Hughton] and it was, ‘No, you’re an important part and I don’t want you to leave’.

“At one point, someone phoned me to ask if I knew Luciano Becchio was in Norwich waiting to sign. I said, ‘Well, I’m at home, there’s no deal happening. It was messy.

“But I made my decision. I thought, ‘Do you know what? If they don’t want me and Leeds do want me then yeah, let’s do this’.

“Leeds are a massive club, something I hadn’t thought about, but when I did think about it, I thought, ‘It’s one hell of an opportunity’.”

Morison admitted that, although he didn’t enjoy his spell at Leeds, he made poor decisions as well – particularly with his groin problem.

The comment from his former boss Warnock further hampered the situation and left him with astronomical expectations to achieve. Morison said it was a “massive statement” which negatively affected fans’ perceptions about him.

What’s more is that the groin problem he played through for months, which would eventually be fixed by physios Harvey Sharman and Ross McCarthy, threatened to “tarnish” his legacy and reputation.

Morison rues he was not selfish enough with himself to say he could no longer continue while carrying the injury.

But what really changed the former Lions captain’s mentality was when he began to invest his time into sports psychology – something he feels could aid in a potential managerial career.

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Photo: Steve Morison celebrates with team-mate Tom Lees. Photo: Adam Davy / PA

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Morison said it changed his life in general, not just what was on the pitch, adding: “That’s why I don’t blame anyone at Leeds.

“It’s me that failed, it’s me that made bad decisions. When I left and went back to Millwall, I had four really successful years there.

“You’re only as good as your last game and that’s the horrible world of football. One of my driving factors at Leeds was that I had something to prove again.”