Erling Haaland

Erling Haaland
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Erling Haaland

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Current Club: Borussia Dortmund.

Previous Clubs: Red Bull Salzburg, Molde, Bryne.

Loan Clubs: N/A.

International: Norway 15caps 12goals.

Trophies Won: Footballer of the Year (Austria) 2019. Austrian Bundesliga 2018/19. German Cup 2020/21. Austrian Cup 2018/19.

Haaland is a difficult player to profile, his goal scoring record is insanely good but it is trying to figure out why that is which creates the problem. Overall his game has a number of weaknesses which should limit his ability to score so many goals, yet somehow he just keep putting the ball in the back of the net.

You can see good points very easily, he is lightning quick off the mark, incredible acceleration and good pace. Haaland is a big, strong and powerful lad with a good leap and decent accuracy with his head too.

His movement is good, as is his workrate and he is, though mainly left-footed, strong with his weaker foot too. But then we comes to Haaland's weak spots and the list is surprisingly long for a man with a goal scoring record like his.

For starters his technique is patchy, which often means his first touch is not great, his link up play is not that good and in desperate need of improving if he is to get anywhere near the level of a player like Lewandowski, for example. On top of that he lacks skill, you will often see him trying to beat a player on the dribble but it is very rare that Haaland succeeds in doing anything more than turning the ball over.

It is surprising how little dribbling skill Haaland has, his 'trick' that he uses repeatedly is to try to switch it from one foot to the other quickly and knock it past a defender to chase after. Usually the switch is so telegraphed that they just take it off him when he tries it.

There is also a real lack of aggression and effort in his pressing, it is very half-hearted the way he does it. With his acceleration and pace, he could terrify defenders into making errors with a bit more effort, instead of just moving in their general direction and standing off them.

Clearly Haaland's main strength is his ability to be in the right place at the right time, though I was surprised at just how many chances he misses, something I was not expecting. Added to that, he seems to be beginning to struggle with injuries, which does make you wonder if maybe the move to Dortmund was not quite as clever a choice as it seemed at the time.

Not that I think a bigger club will not be in for him in the summer, just that the injury problems might mean he fails to showcase just exactly how good he actually is. If the injuries cost Haaland his acceleration, he will struggle badly in the same way Fernando Torres did.

It is that little burst that gives him room to slot the ball home, to get half a yard from a defender, and to allow him to reach a cross others would not get near. When he does return from his hip flexor injury, that will be something I will be looking for with interest, does he still have that blistering turn of foot that has made him such a lethal penalty box predator?

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