Since his appearance in the U-20 World Cup, where he scored nine goals against Honduras in a single match, Erling Haaland earned an important place among the young talents. The Norwegian broke it both with the Red Bull Salzburg jersey and with that of Borussia Dortmund and caused many European powers to fight over him.
Finally, it was Manchester City who managed to retain the services of the 22-year-old striker. The team led by Pep Guardiola paid 60 million euros for him and expect two things: goals and titles, mainly the UEFA Champions League. However, Haaland’s official debut with the Citizens was not as expected.
For the Community Shield, Manchester City fell to Liverpool 3-1 and the Norwegian couldn’t do anything to avoid it. Pep’s side were outmaneuvered tactically and Haaland squandered some clear chances. In addition, the one who left him in evidence was Julián Álvarez, who entered the complement and put his team in the game.
Erling Haaland could not convert against Liverpool (Photo: REUTERS).
Erling Haaland could not convert against Liverpool (Photo: AP).
Equally, the 22-year-old striker has no doubts about his level and knows that when he adapts to the game the goals will come. The last champions of the Premier League start their journey in defense of the title on Sunday against West Ham. In an interview with the historic player Shearer for BBC Sport and The Athletic, the Norwegian talked about everything.
“As a striker, I think it’s very important that when you’re on the pitch you don’t think too much. It is not good to go to my next game thinking about the opportunity that I missed before. You have to go into the game hungry. It doesn’t matter what happened before, whether you scored three goals or you haven’t scored goals in a long time, you have to go into the game with the same mindset,” he began.
Even though he scored 86 goals in 89 games in two and a half years for Borussia Dortmund, Erling Haaland admitted there is extra pressure playing for Manchester City, who have won four of the last five Premier League titles: “Yes, of course, it is pressure. I am playing for the Champions… so there is pressure, but in my head it’s about trying to go out on the field smiling as much as possible and trying to enjoy the game. Because life goes by fast and suddenly my career is over.”
Furthermore, he added: “In the end we just want to enjoy playing football, enjoy what was our childhood dream. There will be people talking about you, especially as a striker if you don’t score, then the talk comes, but in the end, you can’t choose what people say, what people read, what people think of you. This is something you have to live with. And yes, I enjoy it.”
The Norwegian striker also described his first impressions of working with Pep Guardiola, who has won four Premier League titles, four EFL Cups and one FA Cup since taking over as manager in 2016: “It is demanding in its messages about what to do and about doing everything one hundred percent. It doesn’t matter if it’s a normal running drill, do it 100 percent, like you do on the court. Train while you play. That easy”.
Erling Haaland training with Manchester City (Photo: AFP).