More like Ma­son will do me just fine, says Sol­sk­jaer

Manchester Evening News - - UNITED - By DAVID ALEXAN­DER HUGHES

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

Ma­son Green­wood

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