If you haven’t heard the name of Erling Haaland, then you either live under a rock, or you’re not following European football enough.
Okay, that might be a stretch. But this coveted 19-year-old attacker has been tearing it up over the past 12 months, breaking records left and right and taking gigantic steps towards becoming a top-notch striker sooner than later. But, who is this Norwegian striker that seemingly every top team in the world wants to sign?
To take about Haaland, we must do two things first. We must talk about his roots, and his rose to stardom at the U20 level.
Haaland, 19, was born in Leeds on July 21st, 2000. He is the son of former Norway, Manchester United and Leeds United centre-back Alf Inge Haaland. His football roots come straight from his father, although his position on the field is completely opposite. The father was paid to prevent goals, and the son gets paid to score them. Haaland could have represented England since he was born in Leeds, but chose to represent Norway. That was a smart call, as he has already won two caps with the senior squad.
Haaland made his way onto the senior squad following an impressive showing in the 2019 U20 World Cup where he scored nine goals in a single match against Honduras. Yes, that’s not a typo. Haaland found the back of the net nine times during Norway’s 12-0 rout of the CONCACAF side during May this year.
A rising star already making waves all over Europe
It’s not like Haaland has been making headlines at the youth levels, though. He signed for RB Salzburg in January this year, and has started the season on top form. He has 11 goals and five assists in eight Bundesliga appearances, while also adding three in his UEFA Champions League debut against Gent.
All things considered, the 19-year-old already has 17 goals in 10 matches in all competitions. We must remember he’s only 19. That scoring form is impressive regardless of the opposition, but even more so for a player of his age. Not many U20 players can be as productive and as decisive in a top-tier league all over Europe.
It remains to be seen whether Haaland can reach the heights many believe he is capable of. But one thing is certain. He should already be considered as one of the top young players in the world. And it shouldn’t be surprising to see teams such as Barcelona and Manchester United following him. He has shown enough quality already to make the jump to a more competitive environment.
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