David Beckham, bling & escaping the goldfish bowl - Lewis Morgan's US odyssey

By Chris McLaughlinBBC Scotland sports news correspondent
Lewis Morgan
Lewis Morgan made just 11 starts for Celtic before joining Inter Miami in January

"I don't like the sand - it gets everywhere. This will be in my bed later."

Lewis Morgan is walking delicately along the exclusive beachfront in Fort Lauderdale, shielding his eyes from everything the Sunshine State has to offer and doing his best to keep the sand out of his shiny new white trainers.

For the 23-year-old from Greenock, who made his Inter Miami debut in Sunday's opening 1-0 Major League Soccer defeat away to Los Angeles, this is his new life.

Don't let the sand complaint fool you though, the former Celtic and St Mirren winger is a happy man. Having never once set foot in the United States, he signed for David Beckham's newly created club without hesitation last month.

'Bling slaps you in the face'

The lure of being part of the latest, and much-talked about, MLS franchise, coupled with the uncertainty of life at Celtic, were the factors that made the decision an easy one for the midfielder who has two Scotland caps.

"It's genuinely just really exciting," he says, relaxing on the lush grass back at the club's new multi-million pound training centre.

It's actually difficult to hear him as a procession of private jets fly off from the airport next door - the bling slaps you in the face then shouts in your ear just to make sure you get it.

"I had to push myself out of a comfort zone," Morgan says. "I could have signed for clubs in the English Championship and tried it that way, but I feel like, to come and test myself with a coaching staff that primarily speaks Spanish, it's just testing myself both on and off the field.

"I'm hoping that helps me grow as a player and propels me onto the international stage with Scotland."

'We want diversity in our squad'

The new club is the brainchild, in part, of global superstar Beckham.

He's been working on the project for the past seven years and has recently secured a sponsorship deal with Qatar to the tune of $235m.

It'll certainly be needed - the new stadium alone is expected to cost around $1bn.

The former Manchester United and LA Galaxy player is clearly sprinkling his stardust, but he's keen to get involved and says that buying players like Morgan is part of the plan to create a multicultural atmosphere.

Beckham speaks of his 'stubbornness' as Inter Miami make MLS debut

"We have said that this is a club where we want diversity in our squad," Beckham tells me.

"Whether that's players from Europe and who have had the experience of playing in Europe, like Lewis, I think, at the end of the day, that's what we want to create with this team.

"The level is lifting, the interest is lifting and it really gives players from Europe, or wherever we bring them from, the opportunity to come in and play at a good level."

'Off the pitch, it will be more relaxed'

His Scottish acquisition is certainly buying into the dream.

In the next few weeks, his girlfriend and their dogs will join him at the new home he's renting on the edge of the Everglades.

"When we were making the decision, it was mutual between us that, if we were going to do it, we would have to be all in," he says.

He's already had a few former team-mates planning trips to visit and, although he says he'll miss the individuals, you get the feeling he won't miss football in Glasgow.

He signed for Celtic in 2018 but was soon loaned out to Sunderland. The following season, he made a few appearances but struggled to become a regular - not that he's blaming anyone.

Lewis Morgan
Morgan made 22 appearances on loan at Sunderland in England's League One

"At a club like Celtic, you don't always get the chance to build up a run of five or six games," Morgan says.

"For whatever reason, it just didn't work out, but then if it had, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to come out here, so I'm looking at it from that perspective."

He also seems relieved to be out of the infamous Glasgow goldfish bowl.

"The pressure on the pitch, for me, will be the same - If you're not feeling that pressure, you're not doing anything worthwhile, but I think off the pitch it will be a little more relaxed from a lifestyle perspective."

A young Scot, living his American dream with a former player turned superstar who is also living his. A match made in Miami.

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