Erling Haaland names eight strikers he admired growing up - including ex-Man City & Man Utd stars

The Manchester City striker also explained what impact Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had on his career.
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Erling Haaland has named eight strikers he admired when he was growing up.

The Manchester City forward has made an immediate impact since moving to the Premier League champions last summer, and he’s netted 27 times in his first 24 appearances for the club. One of Haaland’s most impressive attributes is his movement in and around the box, but speaking in a recent interview, the Norwegian explained this is something he learned from studying some of game’s recent greats.

Asked which forwards he grew up matching and mimicking, Haaland responded: “From Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] to [Robin] Van Persie to [Jamie] Vardy to [Sergio] Aguero, [Lionel] Messi,” the City star told GQ. “[Alvaro] Negredo, Edin Dzeko and [Mario] Balotelli,” he added, with a nod to his fondness for watching City during his youth.

As well as watching some of the Premier League’s greatest forwards, Haaland also directly learned from one during his spell at Molde, where he was managed by ex-Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

One of Norway’s greatest ever goalscorers, Solskjaer worked with Haaland on a very specific part of his game. “The first thing I think he said to me was ‘You have no idea how to head the ball. We have to work on that’,” said the 22-year-old, who revealed Solskjaer would send in repeated crosses for him to practise his heading.

“This is what we did for two years, the whole period I was in Molde. And it was a good thing because I couldn’t hit the ball, and now I’m scoring goals with my head – thanks to them.”

Haaland was also asked in the interview whether one day winning the Ballon d’Or is one of his personal aims. “I think everybody cares,” he responded. “But I don’t think it’s a good thing to think about this.

“If you and your team are playing really well, you will perform well, you will begin to win trophies, [and] you will probably be on the list. Like [Kevin De Bruyne was – he was third place, I think well deserved, by the way. But yeah, you cannot think of these kinds of things.

“Look at [Karim] Benzema, he is 35 now and I think even better,” Haaland added. “So in 12 years I hope to be even better than I am now.”