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Did the control function correct that day?
What control did you install in the boat?
Disconnect the shift cable from the bracket on the engine. Then see if the handle will come back or not. We need to know if it is the control or in the drive.
All Mercury controls are made with all metal internal parts. Mores are not bad and less expensive, but I do not prefer them.
Yes, just pay attention to who yours shifts, either push or pull. Attach the cables in the correct places on the Merc arms.
The 4500 series works best. you also may need to replace the control cables and use adapters. If your current cable ends are universal type they should work. the Gen II box is longer and requires special cables, so you may not want that one.