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Roy Keane brutally told he ‘couldn’t lace Erling Haaland boots’ in staggering response to Man City criticism

Erling Haaland of Man City and Roy Keane

Roy Keane has been slammed for his criticism of Erling Haaland

Roy Keane claiming that Erling Haaland has the all-round quality of a League Two player has not gone down well with one of his rival pundits, who has supported the Manchester City star with a savage response.

Haaland has not been quite as deadly this season as he was in the 2022-23 campaign, surprisingly missing some great chances and also being held back by a foot injury between December 10 and January 26. The centre-forward has still managed 30 goals in 37 appearances, though he has failed to make an impact in recent big games against Arsenal and Real Madrid.

After the 0-0 draw with Premier League title rivals Arsenal on March 31, former Man Utd captain Keane tore into Haaland by saying: “The levels of his general play are so poor. And not just today but in general.

“In terms of [in] front of goal he’s best in the world, but his general play is so poor.

“He’s almost like a League Two player. That is the way I look at him. His general play has to improve.

“It will do, over the next few years. Being this brilliant striker is fantastic but he has to improve his all-round game.”

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Keane was now been asked about his League Two jibe again, and he simply doubled down on the brutal criticism rather than apologising.

But Collymore, who scored goals for the likes of Liverpool and Nottingham Forest before retiring in 2001, has not taken kindly to Keane’s comments.

Pundit jumps to Erling Haaland defence

In his latest column for CaughtOffside, Collymore claimed that his fellow pundit ‘couldn’t lace Haaland’s boots’ when he was at the same age (23).

‘After L’Equipe, the voice of football in Europe, gave Haaland a 3/10 for his performance against Real Madrid on Tuesday, along with Roy Keane’s League Two jibe, maybe it is time a fellow striker told it as it is to both and stated a couple of obvious things rather than jump on popular bandwagons,’ he wrote.

‘Firstly, the kid has scored goals in every team he’s played at. Lots of them too.

‘Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, he’s done it in three very different environments. England, Germany, and the Champions League, all while being a relative rookie.

‘Finally, and for me the point Keane and L’Equipe are desperately missing, is the type of goals he scores.

‘He’s an over-the-top guy by trade, look at his Dortmund goals and you’ll see pace, running in behind and a stellar finisher.

‘I wondered whether Man City would suit him, especially as most teams who face them sit back denying anyone space except for a fox in the box. City bought him anyway, he toggled a switch in his mind and hey presto, broke all records by being a fox in the box.

‘Is he a great “player” beyond his goalscoring? No, not yet, but his ability to learn, grow, and be unfazed by criticism will undoubtedly get him there.

‘Leave the kid alone’ – Collymore

‘Leave the kid alone, neither Keane nor anyone at L’Equipe could lace his boots at the same age!’

Haaland was also kept quiet by Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday night, as Antonio Rudiger got the better of him.

Following that game, which incredibly ended 3-3, Thierry Henry explained how Haaland must work on his ability to hold defenders off behind him.

“I always say that I’ve seen strikers not scoring but playing really well for the team away from home and doing exactly what you need to for your team away from home, or even at home,” he said.

“But more often than not you judge a striker for his goals – fair enough, we already know that.

“People can get better and I believe in that. But there is one thing that he doesn’t do ever so well, and he’s always shoulder to shoulder with the defender, so you can go like this, and get your foot around.

“But if you are like this [square on, hand on defender’s shoulder] there is no way you can get that ball now. I’ve created a distance, you can’t get the ball. Even at three-quarters you can protect the ball.

“Afterwards it’s all about your quality, but you can’t let the defender get their leg around you, or get an arm around you, you have to grab it first then dictate.”

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