Is Haaland The Best Striker In The World? Stephen Ireland Weighs In
He has been banging in the goals for Man City since joining and his current form has us wondering – is Haaland the best striker in the world?
The Norwegian striker now has 28 goals to his name from just 26 Premier League games which means he is averaging more than one goal per game.
The record for number of goals scored in a Premier League season is 34, held by Alan Shearer and Andy Cole. Haaland is on pace to smash that record this season and he has already beaten the previous record for most goals in a season by a Man City player.
Given all his accomplishments this season Erling Haaland has put himself right into the conversation for best striker in the world right now. There are some other world class strikers such as Karim Benzema, Kylian Mbappe and Robert Lewandowski also in the conversation to be considered the best of them all.
Here at BoyleSports we caught up with former Man City and Ireland player Stephen Ireland who weighed in on the debate as to where Erling Haaland ranks among the best strikers in the world.
Ireland also gave us his insight on some of the other big stories in football right now including the Premier League title race and the possibility of Vincent Kompany taking over at Man City after Pep.
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Haaland Top Three But Not The Best Striker In The World
Just how good is Erling Haaland – is he the best striker in the world?
SI: I don’t think he is number one, but definitely in the top three at this moment in time. Stats-wise, no one can argue with the amount of goals he has scored so far.
In terms of overall game, there are a few areas he still needs to work on, but he is doing what he is meant to be doing. How much money would you be willing to spend on someone to put the ball in the back of the net?
He’s still so young as well, people forget that.
Arsenal Will Be Tough To Catch For Man City
Can Arsenal be caught by Manchester City?
SI: It’s going to be tough, but Arsenal are flying at the moment and their morale will be so high. The momentum they have got is incredible, there has got to be a hiccup somewhere – it is just a case of how many of them there will be.
Everyone is on the edge of their seats and it’ll be so interesting for everyone watching. It’s so hard because you can literally flip a coin, honestly I do not know.
It would be great if City could catch them, but I would also be really happy for Arsenal if do it – I really would! They’ve played some great football, but I am just trying to watch it as a neutral and trying to enjoy it as what it is.
I Wish Pep Had Come To City Before I Left
How much would you love to play under Mikel Arteta in this Arsenal team?
SI: Absolutely, I would have loved it if the timing aligned with the right manager and the right style of play. I wish Pep would have came earlier than before I left.
You need a bit of luck along the way, you need the right things to fall for you along the way. But Arsenal play some incredible football and even managing to scrape some results when they need to as well is so impressive.
At BoyleSports we recently got the chance to chat with another former Man City player Bacary Sagna who played under Guardiola and gave us a behind the scenes look into what Pep Guardiola is like as a manager.
Man City Loss A Learning Experience For Burnley
What did you make of the victory against Burnley?
SI: It’s a weird one, because I am happy for that result for Burnley in a weird way because it is a lesson in terms of the difference in quality, because they are going up this year.
They’ve breezed the Championship this year, and credit to them, but in terms of going up they need to make sure they get their recruitment right. I know it is Man City and I know it’s hard to prepare for. But they can take away so many important lessons from this before they try again next year.
Vince is obsessed with football; he watches footage like you wouldn’t believe, he watches the Burnley academy sides from under-12’s – it is incredible. His work rate and his attention to detail – his staff as well – they are really on it.
I’m absolutely delighted for him and his staff, I’m friends with Craig Bellamy and a lot of the other members of staff there. But losing to City gives them a lot to learn from because the Premier League is a relentless league and they are going to have to make sure they get things right.
Vincent Kompany Is Football Obsessed
Did Vincent Kompany always show managerial credentials when he joined Man City in 2018?
SI: It’s nice to see Vince outside of his environment, like when we went to a Chris Brown concert last week, or going to dinner and having a catch up with him.
But he cannot switch off, he absolutely loves football and he is obsessed with it. He’s a really good guy; really smooth, a nice guy and such a gentleman. He hasn’t changed at all, still such a top guy and he was always wired up for some type of football role.
Whether that was a sporting director role or a manager role, he was definitely built for that. The first time he arrived in Manchester he was always studying and at night time he went to university. He was just doing different degrees and his work ethic was more than just about football.
He really maximised the hours of the day to develop himself in different areas. He is a very educated guy and I am absolutely delighted for him because you go into his house and he has things all over his walls about football in his office. He is just relentless!
I don’t think anyone could have anticipated how well he would have done in his first job after football, I certainly didn’t think he would do this well so quickly! He’s done everything right and transformed the club, from the playing style to the staff.
I think Burnley in the next five years are going to be a real force, whether he is there or not I don’t know, but even if he leaves he will leave the club in such a great place.
Kompany Should Stay At Burnley For The Next Couple Of Years
Could Vincent Kompany be the perfect successor to Pep Guardiola?
SI: It would be an amazing story if he was to take over from Pep, whenever that is – I don’t know. I also don’t want to disrespect Burnley because they are a great club with a lot of great players there.
I think Vince has definitely got to stay at Burnley for the next two to three years. At the moment, everything has gone so positively for him so far. But there will be challenges and bumps in the road, and then you will see what people are really made of, see how they respond.
Vince has to go through that transition, he has to go through that path where he has to weather the storm. It would be a fantastic story for everyone involved if he was to take over after Pep – but we don’t know when that is.
I think Man City and Pep are a great suit and he could be there for the next 10 years, you don’t know if he wants to go out and manage in Spain or take another job and jump ship elsewhere. Maybe he can’t think about that until he does win a Champions League with Man City?
In terms of Vince, he is heading in the right direction for his age in such a short space of time.
Joey Barton Was Always Going To Become A Manager
Did you think Joey Barton would become a manager eventually as well having known him as a youngster?
SI: Yeah I did, absolutely. It was either a manager or a first team coach for Joey, he always wanted to be a manager when he was younger and playing as well.
Joey was always pushing towards that as well and it was always going to be a case of who was willing to give him that chance and back him and give him an opportunity. Joey’s a smart guy, he’s very educated and he always speaks really well in the media.
He’s very driven and when he gets his opportunity to talk and sell himself, I think he is very capable of doing that. He has been given opportunities and for people I know who work with him, they have high hopes for him. They do believe he is going to be a big manager and going to take clubs to big places and people speak really highly of him – players and staff.
I know people who have worked with him as players and coaches and they really like him and he is learning his trade. When you’re learning your trade, in the building and learning the role, that is all you can do – it’s better than lads who just sit at home waiting for jobs in the hope something comes around.
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