‘Perfect’ and ‘fearful’ Haaland can ‘make the difference’ as City chase first Champs League

Jason Soutar
Erling Haaland scores a goal against Sevilla

Owen Hargreaves and Rio Ferdinand have waxed lyrical about Manchester City striker Erling Haaland.

The 22-year-old has already scored 12 goals this season, seven competitive games into his City career.

He joined from Borussia Dortmund in the summer transfer window after the Premier League champions triggered his £51million release clause.

Putting it simply: Haaland is an absolute joke and is taking the p*ss out of defenders and goalkeepers every game.

He bagged the second brace of his City tenure in his first Champions League appearance for the club as his side battered Sevilla on Tuesday evening.

It must be some task attempting to defend Haaland, and former Manchester United centre-half Ferdinand believes the young striker has a “fear factor” about him.

“When you haven’t got that threat and I’m not discrediting like a Jesus, who is a threat, but there is a difference in I think between the levels of threat and the levels of fear certain players give you,” Ferdinand told BT Sport.

“When there’s that fear factor that he has right now and he’s going to continue to have, that attracts defenders – and two people.

“A lot of defenders will go ‘I can’t do this on my own’ and in the training room before the game will be going to their teammates ‘listen if he gets me in a one vs one, you get over quick, you get over quick’.

“Whereas some players when you get one vs one you stay where you are, you are confident you can deal with him. There’s not going to be many who say that about Erling Haaland.”

Ferdinand’s former United teammate Hargreaves has described Haaland as “the perfect player” and thinks he can make the difference in the Champions League final if Pep Guardiola’s side reach that stage of the competition.

Hargreaves said: “When you see some of the fees and you think some guys are costing £30m, £40m and £50m and he [Haaland] only cost what he did, I don’t know how. He obviously had a buy-out clause but the guy is amazing.

“He’s the perfect player. I can understand why we’re all getting carried away because we should be. He’s got 12 goals and it’s the first week of September. So blown away by how good he is.”

He continued: “I think Haaland going there, everyone, all of us, I’m sure Pep even (Jurgen) Klopp and (Thomas) Tuchel, that’s the missing piece of the puzzle.

“It’s worked this fast, this quickly. They’ve had more possession in the games which means more touches for De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva.

“They look a threat. They’re scoring lethal goals and like Rio said in one-off games like a Champions League finals, you need someone to sniff a goal and you can guarantee he’s going to do that.”