More like Mason will do me just fine, says Solskjaer
UNITED manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remained cryptic on the subject of promising young striker Erling Haaland on Sunday, but refused to rule out a move.
The Reds boss worked with the 19-year-old for two years at Molde and handed him his debut at just 16.
When questioned about the striker following his side’s 1-1 draw with Everton, he said: “He (Haaland) knows what he wants to do and knows what he is going to do”.
Haaland is highly sought after following a stunning campaign with Salzburg that has already attracted public interest from Bundesliga duo RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund.
However, he has been on United’s radar for some time, with their scouts having been to watch the youngster several times since he was playing for Molde.
But just how good is the striker and how can he aid United to overcome their current struggles on the pitch?
Firstly, what really stands out about Haaland is his physical appearance. He stands at a towering 6ft 4ins and boasts a wide frame. This bestows him a domineering power up top which often sees him shrug off the challenges of older, more experienced defenders.
It also means he can be a good target man.
However, unlike other traditionally tall centre-forwards, Haaland is not slow and laboured on the ball. He has quick feet and has so far this season averaged 2.3 successful dribbles and 1.9 progressive runs per 90 minutes.
His skill on the ball is aided by the fact he can use both feet well, even if he does prefer to use his left.
He boasts not only a great ability with the ball at his feet, but also a great intelligence in finding pockets of space in and around the penalty area.
This is important to note given United attackers can sometimes struggle to play through sides sitting in low block formations.
Haaland’s prowess in this regard allows him to carve open a high amount of opportunities on goal.
So far this season, he is averaging 4.5 shots per 90 minutes with 51 per cent of those efforts hitting the target. For comparison, United’s current most threatening forward Marcus Rashford is attempting 3.2 shots per 90 minutes this season, with just 49 pc hitting the target.
He has scored a spectacular 25 goals in just over 1,400 minutes of competitive action this season. That works out at an unrivalled average of 1.55 goals per 90 minutes. Still just a teenager, not only is Haaland’s brute goalscoring record appealing, but so is his intelligence in finding pockets of spaces in between deeper defensive lines to pick up the ball and create chances on goal. If Haaland’s chosen destination is Old Trafford, like many fans expect and hope, then he could be a huge factor in United improving when overcoming sides who opt to sit back in low rigid defensive formations.
OLE Gunnar Solskjaer says United need more players with the temperament of Mason Greenwood.
The 18-year-old netted the Reds’ equaliser against Everton on Sunday, becoming the youngest United goalscorer in the Premier League at Old Trafford since Federico Macheda in 2009.
The Bradford-born forward already has seven goals this term and is the Reds second highest scorer, despite only starting once in the league.
“It’s easy from the outside, sitting in the stands and watching,” Solskjaer said of what United should have done differently.
“Could have done that, should have done that. It was a bit of a calm head [needed] that maybe you’ll get a bit more experience because young kids want to do well and we just didn’t have that one little bit of extra composure.
“You wanted the ball to drop to Mason, for example, because he’s so calm and composed in there, when he gets a chance he takes it. We put them under pressure, but ran out of time towards the end.
“Too many chances are missed, in general, in football of strikers rushing the finish, stressing, but the best ones have that little extra half second and he does.”
Greenwood is expected to start in tomorrow night’s Carabao Cup quarter-final at home to Colchester United.
United target Erling Haaland