Gary Neville described the impact Erling Haaland is having as “a bit unfair”, and highlighted a key difference between he and Premier League legends Cristiano Ronaldo and Thierry Henry.
The Norwegian hitman has wasted little time putting Premier League defences to the sword. Indeed, he already has 10 goals to his name in just six matches with two hat-tricks along the way. The record for most goals in a 38-game season held by Mohamed Salah (32) already looks under threat.
With Haaland already firing on all cylinders, Man City are virtually everyone’s pick for the Premier League title.
Even more worrying for City’s rivals is the fact the marksman is only 22 and barring injury, will likely get better and better.
Now, speaking on his Sky Sports podcast, pundit Gary Neville likened Haaland to James Bond villain, Jaws.
Neville termed Haaland’s early impact as looking “a bit unfair”. He also explained why City is the perfect place to ensure his career has longevity as well as explosiveness.
“Erling Haaland is… it just looks a bit unfair,” said Neville.
“I remember when I watched James Bond films when I was younger and there was the character Jaws, who was about 7ft 2in.
“He used to just pick people up and chuck them on the floor, and it’s a little bit like that when you watch Haaland against strong centre-backs. You think, ‘wow, he’s just unplayable – how do you even cope with him in the box?’
“The one thing I would say is Haaland’s career at City will probably prolong his overall career, because he’s just standing there.
“The way Manchester City play, with that possession that they keep, you never really see him stretching teams, other than when they get one or two in front.”
Difference between Haaland and Henry/Ronaldo
Neville went on to claim that unlike Cristiano Ronaldo and Thierry Henry, Haaland’s arrival represents a huge coup for the league.
While Ronaldo and Henry went on to become bona fide legends, it was not anticipated that they would reach such lofty heights at the times when they were signed.
In contrast, the near unanimous outlook on Haaland is that he’ll go on to become the best striker in the world during his career. Kylian Mbappe may have a say in that matter, but the Norwegian is setting a pace at the Etihad Mbappe has never matched in Paris.
“I just have to say that I’m massively impressed with him,” continued Neville.
“It’s the first time we’ve signed what I believe to be one of the top two or three players in the world for the future.
“Ordinarily, those players go to Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid or Barcelona.
“Cristiano Ronaldo, when he became the best player in the world here [at Manchester United] or maybe Thierry Henry at Arsenal, they didn’t sign as prospects to be the best player in the world, they just developed to being that when they were here.
“But this player – you fully anticipate he’s going to go on and win Ballon d’Ors and be the best player in the world. That’s exciting – that’s not happened for quite a while in the Premier League.”