As we sit here on the eve of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar it feels criminal that Erling Haaland will not be there.
Football fans wish they could see the greatest players on the planet at international tournaments but Norway’s inability to qualify means that we will have to suffer without the forward. World football’s loss is Manchester City’s gain though.
With 23 goals already to his name, Haaland has six weeks to recover and be raring to go for a busy festive schedule when his teammates return. Supporters will be itching to see the 22-year-old back out on the pitch. A rested Haaland provides a daunting prospect for the entirety of the Premier League.
But, while the media and fans can talk up the sensational prospects of Haaland, his agent Rafaela Pimenta gave a healthy reminder to all of us in a recent interview with Marca. “It’s a very nice thing [the rumours about his future], but I hope there aren’t too many,” she said.
“I understand the attention, the curiosity that arouses. It’s the novelty. Curiosity is normal, but I hope with Erling, when there are no things to say, they don’t make them up.
“This is something that is happening. They look for easy clicks. There is exaggerated news.
“Haaland must be protected from this situation because he is a very young boy who still has to grow up. Everything is news around him, but it has to be because of his goals and his way of playing. I don’t want other things to come.”
Rumours have been springing up from Spain that Haaland has a Real Madrid release clause in his contract and those may well be unhelpful to his progression. So far though, if they were affecting him, he has not let it show on the pitch.
The important point that Pimenta raises is regarding his age and subsequent development. Sometimes it is easy to forget that he is still only 22, considering his lethal ability in front of goal.
Therefore, it is to be expected that drops in form may come as a result. Against Brentford last Saturday the opposition did an exceptional job of keeping him quiet, this could happen again on a few occasions as the campaign progresses.
Unfortunately, as is only natural in the footballing world, people may be quick to judge the striker; we only have to look back to the aftermath following the Community Shield vs Liverpool to see that plenty were willing to rush to conclusions. However, if there was ever a manager who could be trusted with negotiating Haaland’s peaks and troughs it is Pep Guardiola.
Pimenta’s reminder is a healthy one for all of us, we should take a considered approach to not be overzealous about Haaland’s potential. He must be allowed the freedom to grow as a player.