Erling Haaland will be a success at Manchester City, but his status among the best strikers in the world is something of a surprise, according to the player’s former coach.
The 21-year-old is set to move to the Etihad Stadium this summer after the Premier League champions triggered a £51million release clause in his Borussia Dortmund contract.
While personal terms still need to be fully agreed, it’s expected that the prolific attacker will be the next addition to Pep Guardiola’s side.
While City boss Guardiola will be tasked with getting the best out of Haaland moving forward, it was with Norway’s youth side where the frontman first started showing his promise.
Alf Ingve Berntsten managed Haaland for the country’s under-15 side and while claiming that they knew that the striker was a huge talent, they had no idea just how quickly he would become one of the best in the world, with Arsenal’s Martin Odegaard regarded as the prodigious talent within the group.
Speaking to talkSPORT: “I’d coached him for eight years already from when he was eight to when he was 15 so I knew what he was capable of.
“We saw that something was coming from when he was 12 years old because he already had some technical ability, tactical ability because he was smart and he had a great mentality.
“The only thing that was missing was the physical part and we knew that in five or six years that would explode because of his genetics.
‘Brilliant’ De Bruyne scores four, Leeds face relegation, De Jong to Man United
Watford confirm Rob Edwards appointment amid Forest Green departure storm
Man United v Forest live stream costs just 99p as Youth Cup final boasts record crowd
Arsenal have numerous injury doubts ahead of the north London derby
West Ham make huge eight-year offer to Rice to ward off Chelsea and Man United
Kane would be ‘ridiculous’ at Liverpool but best chance is at Spurs – on one condition
“He was always very good.
“He came with the Norwegian under-15s, that’s the first time that you can play with Norway and he scored in the first match for the under-15s.
“He scored at every level before that, but he was not at [Martin] Odegaard’s level, he was a bit below that.
“That’s why he was a bit unknown in Europe.”
Speaking of his rise to prominence, Bernsten said: “We didn’t know that he would become the top scorer in the Champions League at the age of 20, but he was always the top scorer.
“He scored a lot when he was 8, 9, 10 and so on. At each level he just kept on scoring, so when he got to the national team at under-15 he just kept scoring so we knew that something special was coming.
“We’re not surprised that he’s had a career outside of Norway, but we are a bit surprised that it happened so quick and at that level right now.”
But according to Berntsten, his track record shows that he’s always made the right move at the right time to aid his development.
Asked if he’s ready for the Premier League, Berntsten said: “I think so because Erling and his family have made a very clever choices.
“It was right for him to play for Bryne until he was 16 and a half, it was a clever move to Molde where he stayed for two years and the natural thing to do was to go to Salzburg for one year and so they selected the right level and where he would get playing time, and that’s very important.
“When he’s had that scoring level there was only four or five clubs who were right for him and Man City was one of them.
I think that he will do well because at every stage he has played in a team that creates chances and he will score.
“He has done always done that, at every level, even the higher level when he comes to Man City.
“Even if the defenders in the Premier League is a much higher quality, I think that he will have many chances and won’t stop scoring because he has a high percentage of scoring with his chances and so I think that will continue even if defenders are better.
“He will move smart in the box. They talk about his tap-ins in the Bundesliga, but that’s not easy. If you have a tap-in you’ve had to avoid the good defenders and it’s not easy and I think the same will happen at City.”
Betting Offer Of The Day
BetVictor: Bet £10 Get £40 in Bonuses + 100 Free Spins* – CLAIM HERE
18+ New customers only. Opt in, bet £10 at odds 2.00+ within 7 days, no cashout. Get 3x £10 Free Bets, set events at odds 2.00+. Plus a £10 Slot Bonus, selected games, wager 20x to withdraw max £250. Plus 100 Free Spins. 100 Free Spins have no wagering. Bonuses and Spins expire in 7 days. Card payments only. T&Cs apply. Please Gamble Responsibly.