Erling Haaland has exceeded even Pep Guardiola’s expectations with his qualities. For the ex-Dortmunders World Cup break, ManCity’s coach has a wish.
The Premier League professionals must immediately return to everyday league life after the World Cup in Qatar. Those responsible squeezed no less than three match days between 26 December and 5 January. But another fact is at least as ominous for those concerned: they will meet a rested Erling Haaland.
The Norwegian is one of the few Premier League figureheads who is allowed to take a six-week break between matchday 16 and 17, although he himself would certainly have liked to do without. What this will do to Haaland and the others? Hard to predict.
Haaland’s World Cup break: “It depends on how he does in Marbella “
“It’s the first time in our lives that this has happened,” Pep Guardiola, Haaland’s coach at Manchester City, said of the winter World Cup. “So we don’t know how the players will come back.” That goes for those who will be in action in Qatar as well as those on holiday.
“He will be in Marbella or Norway,” Guardiola reveals of Haaland, whose physical condition after the long break is apparently more likely to be decided in southern Spain than in his family home. “It depends on how he does in Marbella. He has a house there. He’ll be playing golf – and hopefully not eating and drinking much!”
Haaland’s moves “not easy for a striker “
Now Guardiola has always been rumoured to prefer monitoring his players around the clock, but in this case his words were already to be understood as a joke. Haaland has long since made far too positive an impression on him, even off the pitch. “He takes perfect care of his body, is well-mannered and always wants to improve,” Guardiola said. On the training pitch, he is one of the first to arrive and the last to leave, he said.
Ahead of his return to Dortmund this Tuesday in the Champions League group stage Haaland has already scored 22 times in 14 competitive games for ManCity. But it is not just the bare numbers that have surprised Guardiola: “I didn’t know how well he moves in small spaces. He is so intuitive. He makes movements that I like very much: away from the action. That’s not easy for a striker. “