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FootballKeane doubles down on Haaland 'League Two player' jibe

Keane doubles down on Haaland ‘League Two player’ jibe

Roy Keane has repeated his belief that Erling Haaland’s general play is “that of a League Two player”.

Keane initially criticised the Manchester City striker following the goalless draw against Arsenal last month with Haaland failing to make any impact against Gunners central defensive pair William Saliba and Gabriel.

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The subject was brought up on the latest Stick to Football podcast and Keane was not backing down.

He said: “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.

“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 team-mates 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 say that he needs to do more, specifically when he’s not getting chances or loads of goals.”

Haaland has scored 30 goals in all competitions for City this season as they bid to repeat last year’s treble success.

Keane’s colleague Ian Wright agreed the Norway striker needs to improve away from the penalty area but highlighted the fact he is only 23 years of age.

Former Arsenal striker Wright said: “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.

“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.

“The problem he will have is that he will be targeted. My weakness was holding and linking the play, so you have to do more so you can get a bit of time to control the ball. I think as he goes to the top level, he will be targeted because if you can stop the other guys around him, the opposition will turn the ball over.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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