Manchester City

Manchester City

Premier League • England

Erling Haaland: Man City striker savagely trolls Roy Keane as Gary Lineker debunks Guardiola claims

Pundit Roy Keane, Man City striker Erling Haaland

Roy Keane claimed Erling Haaland is League Two standard

Manchester City striker Erling Haaland has finally responded to Roy Keane’s criticism of him performing like a League Two player – while Gary Lineker has explained why he does not buy Pep Guardiola’s reasons for subbing off the Norwegian during their big win over Wolves.

Manchester United icon Keane has a long-running feud with the Haaland family, with the Irishman’s brutal tackle on Erling’s father, Alf Inge, during a 2001 Manchester derby, seen by many as effectively ending the latter’s career. And while Alf Inge has since denied those suggestions, there is some history there given that infamous tackle at Old Trafford came just four years after Keane himself had suffered an ACL injury during a clash against Leeds at Elland Road.

With Keane laying stricken on the Elland Road turf, Haaland snr can be seen shouting something at Keane, allegedly accusing the Irishman of ‘feigning injury’.

Now more than 23 years later, it appears relations between the Haalands and Keane have not thawed, with the Irish pundit recently lighting the blue touch paper by criticising Erling Haaland and labelling the Manchester City man as a “League Two player”.

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Having witnessed Man City’s goalless draw with Arsenal at end of March in a result that could have major repurcussions on the destiny of this season’s title, Keane was especially critical of Haaland after he missed a big chance to win the game.

“The levels of his general play are so poor,” Keane told Sky Sports. “He has to improve that. He is almost like a League Two player.”

Erling Haaland finally responds to Keane ‘League Two’ player jibe

Keane continued: “His general play has to improve but it will over the next couple of years. He’s a brilliant striker but he has to improve his all-round game.”

The Norwegian striker perhaps has not matched his own ridiculous high standards set by himself last season, this time around. Indeed, over the 53 games for City last season, Haaland scored an incredible 52 goals.

This time around, the goals have not quite been as easy to come by, with the 23-year-old having scored 32 times in 40 games prior to this weekend.

However, Haaland delivered a firm reposte to his critics by scoring four times on Saturday against Wolves to fire himself clear in the race for the Golden Boot and take his tally to 36 goals in 41 games this season, and 88 in 94 games overall for Manchester City.

Haaland was so far refused to comment on Keane’s jibe but was asked again following his majestic performance at the Etihad on Saturday

And this time the Leeds-born striker did reply when asked by Viaplay, simply responding: “I don’t care about that man.”

Gary Lineker doesn’t buy Guardiola reasons for Haaland substitution

Having netted four goals, Haaland was looking incredibly dangerous and well placed to add to that tally when Pep Guardiola decided to bring him off on 82 minutes with Julian Alvarez coming on in his place. The Argentina striker went on to score City’s fifth in the game and complete the rout.

An animated Haaland hugged his replacement whilst leaving the field, but exchanged some words with Guardiola on the touchline, but was seen to be sulking as he took his place on the bench, chucking his shinpads to the ground while mouthing something to himself.

In his post-match press conference, Guardiola claimed Haaland was ‘frustrated with the referee’ after getting some rough treatment from Wolves captain Max Kilman.

“He’s a little bit frustrated, but I understand,” Guardiola said when asked about Haaland’s reaction to being subbed off.

“He was frustrated with the referee [Craig Pawson]. With the long balls sometimes they push him and he is pulled. Happy for his performance and his exceptional goals, really pleased for him.”

However, Match of the Day anchor Lineker hit back at Guardiola’s theory, stating: “Even though Pep said that wasn’t what it was, I think he didn’t want to come off,’ Lineker explained.

Arsenal legend Ian Wright added: “I think he wanted to score five!”

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Haaland has missed two months of the season with a foot injury, but still now has 25 goals in 28 Premier League games.

Guardiola said of the Norwegian: “Erling is back to business!

“Penalties are a guarantee but the second [header] and fourth [curler] were unbelievable. To come back to his best form, he needs time.”

Haaland, meanwhile, added: “Not bad – 25 goals this season, thanks for that. We keep going. I’ve got a not-too-bad manager who pushes me and look at the players around me.

“Without them it would not be possible. Look ahead, look to the next one – four finals left for the season [including the FA Cup final]. We’re going to go for it and focus on Fulham.

“First of all it’s about winning the games but of course you want to have the best possible goal difference. Let’s not think about that – think about Fulham.”