Scary Erling Haaland will be unstoppable in the Premier League but will take time to settle, admits team-mate Phil Foden
PHIL FODEN reckons “scary” Erling Haaland will be a nightmare for Premier League defences this season.
Manchester City hotshot Haaland, 22, scored just 12 minutes into his debut last week against Bayern Munich in Wisconsin.
Foden is yet to play alongside the £51.4million striker as his Covid vaccination status ruled him out of City’s tour of the USA.
But the England ace has seen enough in training from the dangerman to expect something special at the King Power on Sunday in the Community Shield against title rivals Liverpool.
Foden, also 22, said: “In front of goal he is scary. Everyone knows his goal record and how many he scores.
“He’s coming into a different league, much faster football so it might take him time to get used to.
“But I’m sure when he is in his flow he’s going to be unstoppable.
“If we can get him the ball in the right areas he is going to be really important for us this year.
“He’s hungry to achieve things with us, so it can only mean good things.”
Ahead of his competitive City debut, Haaland has claimed he always knew he was destined for the top.
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Those who knew him as a teen describe a humble, normal boy who has hit the big time.
But being grounded does not mean you don’t know just how good you can be.
Robert Undheim, eight years older than whizkid Haaland and an established player when the striker made his debut at 15, was one of many who laughed off his early ambitions.
Undheim told SunSport: “We were sitting in the dressing room just chatting and he said to me ‘You know, one day I am going to be the world’s best player’.
We had a night out after the season. Everyone just came around and saw his mentality
“This is a small club, everyone just said ‘f*** you’ and laughed.
“We had a night out after the season. Everyone just came around and saw his mentality.
“He said even then: ‘Just wait until I go to Europe, I am going to shine The Ballon d’Or, I’m going to win it.’ Everyone was just taking the p***. But he is very humble as a person.
“It is crazy. He has always had that mentality everywhere he has been. He doesn’t care, he just knows what he can do.”
Haaland was a skinny little player when he first broke into the side, but that did not last long.
Undheim added: “He was like this skinny boy who had talent but you’d never think he was doing what he’d do today.
“It was after some months, we had the summer break and when he came back he was a different person, it was like ‘What happened to you?’
‘We had this guy called Marius Lode, who is at Schalke now, he was our fastest and strongest player.
‘He is a f***ing animal on the pitch’
“Then this guy Erling was out on the pitch, Marius was running and Erling shot past him. They were in a duel and Erling gave him a push. He landed three metres away, on the floor.”
It was not just physically that Haaland was starting to stand up to his team-mates either.
Undheim said: “One day we had this player who was 30, 31. He had been at the club a long time but Erling was just shouting and going after him.
“This was the character he had inside him at 16. He is a f***ing animal on the pitch. When he is on the field nothing else matters.”
Off the pitch when relaxing he can reflect on just how far he has come and enjoys every second.
Undheim said: “When he was at Dortmund he came home and he came to my place.
“We were just chatting and I said: ‘You’ve just played against Neymar and scored two goals against them.’
“He just said: ‘Yeah, it’s awesome’. He is just an ordinary guy.’ ”
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