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11th Apr 2024

Roy Keane doubles down on controversial Erling Haaland comments


Roy Keane

“I don’t know what the big deal is.”

Roy Keane has doubled down on his criticism of Erling Haaland. On Sky Sports after Manchester City’s goalless draw with Arsenal, the former Manchester United captain compared Haaland’s ability in general play to that of a League Two player.

Keane was asked about the comments on the Stick to Football podcast, and the pundit explained his reasoning for making the remarks. The Irishman stated that Haaland’s link-up play is sub-standard and, in open play, he resembles a League Two player. Keane emphasised that he believes Haaland is the best striker in the world, but his contribution in open play needs to improve.

Keane doubles down on Haaland criticism.

“I don’t know what the big deal is, I give Erling Haaland praise every week, I give Manchester City praise, and I think he’s an amazing striker. But his general play is that of a League Two player. And I’m glad you are not agreeing with me, I don’t expect people to agree with me.

“His general play, week in, week out is nowhere near good enough. As a goal scorer and a striker, the best – and I said that. His link-up play, the way he lays the ball off, sometimes the options he gives his teammates or the options he doesn’t give them – as a striker and a goal scorer the best in the world, but his other play is that of a League Two player.

“The game against Arsenal was tough because they did well to contain the whole game, but in general, I don’t think what I said was a big deal. He’s a young player and he will improve, and I guarantee you that Pep Guardiola sits with his staff on everything and says that he needs to do more, specifically when he’s not getting chances or loads of goals.’

Ian Wright appeared on the show alongside Keane and agreed with him about most of the points he made about Haaland. Wright, however, took exception to the striker being called a ‘League Two player’.

“Roy’s critique of Erling Haaland is pretty on point. The only thing that I have an issue with is mentioning the League Two player because that’s what everyone remembers as it’s all about clicks,” Wright said.

“When you look at him scoring, he’s clocking that level in respect of when the players around him have time, they can play it through to him and he goes on to score.

“But we need to remember he’s only 23, he’s still learning the game, but you need to be more savvy in how you’re going to make moves to get time on the ball, and what we’re seeing is that he’s not doing that currently.

“If we’re talking about Haaland and that he’s going to be playing for the best teams, he’s going to have to improve.”

Jamie Carragher, meanwhile, said that Haaland is a ‘great goal scorer’ but not a ‘great player.”

“Erling Haaland is a great goal scorer, but he’s not a great player and sometimes there is a difference between the two,” Carragher said.

“I mean the thing with Haaland is that I don’t think he cares about the other stuff to his game.

“There was a spell last season where Pep Guardiola was asking him to actually come deeper and get involved in midfield, and he looked a bit awkward, it just doesn’t suit him, and I don’t think he’s interested.

“I think the way Manchester City plays, they’ve got so many players who can do the link-up play in Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva, so he doesn’t care about it.

“I remember his performance at Anfield last season where he didn’t get much action in the game, and I think if he doesn’t score, you don’t know if he’s right.”

You can watch the episode of Stick to Football below.

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