Keane sticks by 'Erling Haaland is a League Two player' comments

Keane sticks by 'Erling Haaland is a League Two player' comments

Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane has stuck by his comments that Erling Haaland is a "League Two standard player.".

Keane's comments came in the wake of the Arsenal and Manchester City game that ended in a 0-0 draw. The former United captain made the remarks on Sky Sports, prompting former players and managers to defend Haaland from the remarks.

The Cork native's argument was that Haaland's game was ordinary when he wasn't scoring goals for fun.

"He's almost like a League Two player—that's the way I look at him. His general play has to improve. It will do so over the next few years. [He's a brilliant striker, but he has to improve his overall game," Keane said after the Arsenal game.

During that same week, City boss Guardiola responded to the comments ahead of his side's clash with Aston Villa, saying he strongly disagreed with them.

He said: "I do not agree with him, absolutely not. He's a manager for the second or third league? I don't think so.

"He's the best striker in the world and he helped us win what we won last season. The reason we didn't create many chances [vs Arsenal] was not Erling; it's that we need more presence in the final third with more people.

"We played an exceptional game; I reviewed the game against Arsenal, but we missed more people in the final third, maybe for the quality and skills that we have. Erling is exceptional."

The topic of Haaland and Keane's comments came up again on the Stick to Football podcast, and Keane, who is never one to shy away from anything, doubled down on his assertion about Haaland.

“I don’t know what the big deal is; I give Erling Haaland praise every week, I give Manchester City praise, and I think he’s an amazing striker. But his general play is that of a League Two player. And I’m glad you are not agreeing with me; I don’t expect people to agree with me," Keane explained on the Stick to Football podcast.

“His general play, week in, week out, is nowhere near good enough. As a goal-scorer and a striker, the best—and I said that. His link-up play, the way he lays the ball off, sometimes the options he gives his teammates or the options he doesn’t give them—as a striker and a goal-scorer, he is the best in the world, but his other play is that of a League Two player.

“The game against Arsenal was tough because they did well to contain the whole game, but in general, I don’t think what I said was a big deal. He’s a young player, and he will improve, and I guarantee you that Pep Guardiola sits with his staff on everything and says that he needs to do more, specifically when he’s not getting chances or loads of goals."

Jamie Carragher, the former Liverpool player, also agreed that Haaland was very good at one thing, but not enough to make him an elite one. “Erling Haaland is a great goalscorer, but he’s not a great player, and sometimes there is a difference between the two," he said.

Thierry Henry's observation gives Erling Haaland lots to consider after a brutal Roy Keane comment.

“I mean, the thing with Haaland is that I don’t think he cares about the other stuff in his game. There was a spell last season where Pep Guardiola was asking him to actually come deeper and get involved in midfield, and he looked a bit awkward; it just doesn’t suit him, and I don’t think he’s interested.

“I think the way Manchester City plays, they’ve got so many players who can do the link-up play in Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden, and Bernardo Silva, so he doesn’t care about it. I remember his performance at Anfield last season, where he didn’t get much action in the game, and I think if he doesn’t score, you don’t know if he’s right.”

Manchester's next game will be against Real Madrid this Wednesday.