Erling Haaland and the rise of ‘the baby-faced killer’

Erling Haaland is considered the “killer with a young face” of world football, with a promising scoring record and the potential to become a superstar.

In Salzburg, Erling Haaland has once nicknamed the “cow” because of its giant frame and uncertain touch. However, they were soon impressed by the 1.94m striker when he sped up at 35 km/h.

At Dortmund, all of them did not know that Haaland’s talent would become great in such a fast way. There have been concerns that Haaland will take time to get used to the Bundesliga, the tournament is more speed, more physical than the Austrian national team.

Despite this, Erling Haaland still maintained a destructive performance, reaching the third position in the “European Golden Shoe” race with 25 goals, more than Cristiano Ronaldo (21 goals), Lionel Messi (19 goals) and Kylian. Mbappe (18 goals). The goals of the Norwegian striker is a combination of speed, strength, ability to take chances and decisively finish.

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Talents are being nurtured

In an interview with The Athletic, Bryne coach Alf Ingve Berntsen, the first club in Haaland’s career, said: “We believed that he would be excellent. Erling always scored. And every time he left Erling against a stronger opponent, he will score again. The way things are always like that, always, from day one. “

Erling Haaland impresses on his usual and unusual abilities. He could sprint like an Olympic player and score as a player winning the Golden Ball. Meanwhile, Coach Berntsen recognized a trait in him that many professional sports athletes have: the ability to master any sport they try.

Erling Haaland is good at handball and athletics. In February, scout Andre Noruega scanned records showing Haaland holding the world record of jumping in place at the age of 5, set in January 2016, with a record of 163cm.

Erling Haaland is becoming a "phenomenon" in the 2019/20 season.
Erling Haaland is becoming a “phenomenon” in the 2019/20 season.

The intelligence of Haaland is as attractive as the ability to finish. All can see him as a goalscorer. It was the striker with the left foot that almost tore the Keylor Navas’s net in Dortmund’s 2-1 win over PSG in the first leg of the 1/8 Champions League 2019/20 round. However, what stands out in Haaland’s maturation is its ability to disrupt the defense with the moves and the ability to choose positions.

“His sharpness in the box is his weapon,” said coach Berntsen. “Erling Haaland always tries to play strong and very fast. Now you see how fast he is, right? Incredibly fast. But the most important thing is that he uses his mind.”

Molde sent scouts to Haaland for two years before officially signing a contract for only 100,000 euros. Molde’s coach, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, was happy to let Haaland develop at the right time. Molde has let Haaland undergo an intensive gym and fitness program to help him reach the required level of the Norwegian national championship.

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After the first training session in Dortmund, Erling Haaland reported to the medical department that he felt uncomfortable in his knee. Immediately, the Dortmund leadership had to carefully lower the expectations of the Norwegian striker. However, he prevented any doubts early on. Haaland is ready and makes everyone think that they do not need time to adapt.

Haaland impressed coach Lucien Favre and the rest of Dortmund with the determination to put himself in the scoring position. On the training ground and in the match, Haaland has shown a constant obsession with scoring, which is missing in Dortmund’s very gentle striker. He was also a cross player behind the striker instead of waiting for the ball to reach his feet. He brings depth, as they call it in Germany, a destination for crevices.

The killer has a baby face

Of course, Haaland still has many points for improvement. Erling Haaland can be a little on the ball control situation and not really good at holding the ball. Coach Favre is renowned for his ability to train players in the basic techniques of using his legs and postures, which are expected to spend his own time fixing his small flaws in the coming weeks.

Currently, Favre’s work is focusing too much on keeping the Dortmund defense stable to have time to focus on each striker. However, he often shows Haaland analytical videos to help him improve his decision-making ability.

Saying that Haaland had a great start in Dortmund would not be enough. But the fact that scoring such goals in such a short time is worth emphasizing. his 9 goals in 8 Bundesliga matches is the best scoring record for all players in Europe, across all age groups.

Dortmund is the stepping-stone to make Erling Haaland a star.
Dortmund is the stepping-stone to make Erling Haaland a star.

It would be extremely surprising to see that Erling Haaland is ahead of Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi so much. This “kid-faced assassin” is scoring 1.6 goals every 90 minutes in the Bundesliga (when the game is only a total of 512 minutes) and generates 0.85 expected goals (xG) every 90 minutes. It would be an exaggeration to say that this ability to score remains the same after such a small denominator. 

However, this is really something to watch out for and enjoy while it’s still happening.

It would be a mistake not to set how well his ability to choose the position to score in the 2019/20 season in the context of comparison. Of the top 20 scorers in Europe’s top five leagues, Haaland came in third.

Watching Haaland’s goals, all will recognize the similarities: athletic ability and long stride. Haaland is even compared to “robots or mutants built by the government”. Both are not, but it is not a bad description when it is rare for players to possess a large body and can move so fast.

The next thing is that Erling Haaland always seems to be able to put themselves in the right place at the right time. Of the 8 goals not scored from the penalty spot in the Champions League this season, up to 6 times are one-touch finishes.

In the end, Haaland’s incredible long strides allowed him to create a great shot. Although not usually out of the box, but a goal he scored from a long distance recently in a 2-1 win against PSG, and it almost tore the net.

Erling Haaland always knows how to enjoy football and the joy of scoring.
Erling Haaland always knows how to enjoy football and the joy of scoring.

If you want to become a good striker in the long term, Haaland needs strength, time alignment, and finishing. Fitness, speed, and precision are the tools that can help you to get there.

There are still a lot of matches ahead so everyone can know how long Erling Haaland will maintain the scoring style. But world football is witnessing the “kid-faced assassin” is enjoying the joy of scoring, becoming the opposite of Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the race “European Golden Shoe”.

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