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Erling Haaland labelled a ‘cheat’ by smarting Michael Owen as Gary Lineker responds to GOAT claims over Man City striker

Seb Sternik

Former England internationals Michael Owen and Gary Lineker have hailed Erling Haaland following his thunderous start to the Premier League campaign.

The Manchester City ace added two more goals to his season total on Wednesday night. Haaland scored twice in the opening half-hour of City’s 5-0 victory over FC Copenhagen in the Champions League. The Norway international has now scored 19 goals in 11 competitive games.

Last weekend, Haaland shattered yet another Premier League record after scoring his third hat-trick in the competition.

The 22-year-old became the fastest player in the league’s history to score three hat-tricks, achieving the feat in just eight games. Owen was the previous record holder, though his 48-match mark was obliterated by the Man City striker.

Haaland has found the back of the net in nine straight matches for Pep Guardiola’s side. His recent exploits have led many to question whether he is the man to break Alan Shearer’s all-time Premier League goalscoring record of 260.

The Norwegian forward is certainly on track for this season’s Golden Boot as he sits top of the current goalscoring charts with 14 to his name.

Interestingly, Haaland is just nine efforts away from eclipsing last season’s top scorers Son Heung-min and Mohamed Salah who both scored 23 times. However, the Norway international still has 30 games remaining.

Erling Haaland is a ‘cheat’

Former Liverpool and Manchester United forward Michael Owen jokingly accused Haaland of being a ‘cheat’ after crushing his Premier League hat-trick record over the weekend.

The 42-year-old hailed the Norwegian as ‘incredible’ but also praised Kevin De Bruyne for supplying the service.

“In this Manchester City team as well, everything is aligned, isn’t it?” he told the Pitchside podcast. “He’s [Haaland has] come to the Premier League with experience under his belt. He’s the finished product now but he’s still young enough.

“He has gone to a team that is absolutely in peak form, creating goals. They’ve got someone called Kevin De Bruyne playing behind him.

“Notwithstanding all that, he’s just an incredible player. He makes bad balls look good. He can score with any foot, with his head. He’s bigger than everyone, faster than anyone, stronger than anyone. It’s just a bit of a cheat really.”

When asked whether Haaland could potentially break Shearer’s record, Owen added: “I would say so. If he’s having success and if the Premier League remains the strongest then I would say so and it’s amazing isn’t it?

“He’s been in the Premier League a matter of weeks and we’re already talking about Alan Shearer’s record already.

“I said on the TV after about three or four games that this fella is freakish and he could score 50 goals in all competitions and I was saying it partly having a laugh and now I think, was I underplaying it? Is he going to score 60 now? If he stays fit, he’s going to score 50 plus. It’s impossible not to.”

Haaland to terrorise defences for another decade

Former England striker Gary Lineker added his voice to the debate over Haaland. The Match of the Day host believes if Haaland can avoid serious injuries, he could become one of the greats.

When asked on Twitter whether Haaland could become the best goalscorer he’s ever seen, Lineker said: “Too early to say.

“If he carries on this way for another 10/15 years, avoids serious injuries, then he could challenge the greats.”

Haaland scored 86 goals in 89 competitive games during his last three seasons in the Bundesliga.

Many questioned whether the former Borussia Dortmund ace could replicate his goalscoring form in England. Haaland’s start to the current campaign has certainly silenced many of the doubters.

READ MORE: Erling Haaland: Pep Guardiola reveals truths over Real Madrid transfer clause as Man City striker shatters Liverpool great’s record