Erling Haaland will make his Premier League debut this weekend – and one great goalscorer has interviewed another, with Alan Shearer speaking to the 22-year-old Norway striker for Football Focus.
Haaland talks about understanding ‘English banter’ having been born in Leeds, where his father Alf Inge played before ending his top-flight career with Manchester City.
The ex-Borussia Dortmund forward is now following in his father’s footsteps, having joined City this summer, and he tells the Premier League’s all-time leading scorer about trying to be better than his dad.
The young superstar also mentions his father berating him for his Community Shield miss last week, what he thinks is “the worst feeling ever” and whether he’s the final piece in the jigsaw for City.
Haaland on settling in at City
Did you speak to [former Dortmund team-mates] Jude Bellingham and Jadon Sancho about playing in England?
We spoke a little about it. We are a bit the same. My father spent 10 years in England so he kind of brought me up to have a bit of English banter, so not taking yourself too seriously and trying to have fun with each other is really important.
Will fitness be a test for you in the Premier League?
It’s a really physical league, the tempo is amazing, it’s something I like. It’s going to be tougher for sure but I feel I’m ready, my body is ready. A good duel is always nice.
You like a battle?
It’s good to have a little bit of pain here and there.
Haaland on the art of goalscoring and motivation
Is there anything better than scoring goals?
No, I don’t think there is because it doesn’t matter [what type of] goal, when you score, it’s just something inside you.
Have you always had that feeling?
Yes. When I was younger I was just scoring as many as I could and still it’s this feeling. When you celebrate your first goal you want to do it again. I feel that often. If you see someone score a hat-trick you think, ‘It would be nice to do that next week’. This feeling, I cannot describe it – you know what I’m talking about but a lot of people don’t.
Do you spend hours working on your finishing after training?
I’ve always been shooting a lot. Scoring goals is the most fun thing about it. When I came to [Norwegian club] Molde, with [manager] Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, he was talking about my heading and said, ‘You can’t even head’. I agreed with him. Then every single day we did crosses and headers.
It’s important to do a little bit every day. It doesn’t have to be 500 shots, but just a couple, to get it in. In the end it’s about shooting where the keeper is not standing and hitting the goal. But also getting these bits where you just know what to do – when you’re here, shoot there.
When I missed chances I couldn’t wait to start the next game so I could rectify it. Is that what you feel, particularly after missing one against Liverpool in the Community Shield?
When I look back, it’s like, ‘How can you miss from there?’ You know it will probably happen to you again. I never sleep well after games. But it’s also motivation to score or do something in the next game after. But of course, it’s not a good feeling – it’s the worst feeling ever.
Does your dad tell you after games if you haven’t done things so well?
After the Community Shield he sent me a message that said, ‘Why didn’t you just score?’ Before I played against Liverpool at Anfield for Salzburg he said, ‘For your info, I’ve scored at Anfield before so I have more goals at Anfield than you’.
Where does your motivation come from?
When I was young it was getting better than my father and getting as good as I can. Now there is something inside me that just thinks about football all the time, about what I can do better. I don’t know where it comes from but it’s there.
Haaland on his personal aims and playing with a smile
Is a goal a game achievable in the Premier League?
I can’t talk too much about this. I have to let others do the speaking. I have to try to settle in and deliver as quick as possible.
Do you feel under pressure or can you just go out and play your football?
Of course there is pressure – I’m playing for the champions – but in my head it’s about trying to go out on the pitch, smiling as much as I can and trying to enjoy the game, because life goes fast and suddenly your career is over.
What’s going to be a successful season for you and your team?
We need to be better in the Champions League and the cups and to maintain [our form] all the time in the Premier League. It’s not easy, there are so many good teams. It’s about building on what City have had here for many years. I want to bring my own kind of things and hopefully be better.
Do you think you’re the final piece in the jigsaw for City winning the Champions League?
I don’t want to say too much about this. It’s my favourite competition – I love the anthem and everything. It’s a really nice competition, a difficult competition. My dream is to win it.