RB Salzburg defender Max Wober has backed team-mate Erling Braut Haaland to “become one of the best strikers in the world”.
The Norwegian youngster – who is the son of former Leeds and Man City man Alf-Inge – scored a hat-trick during Salzburg’s 6-2 win over Genk on Tuesday, becoming just the third teenage debutant to do so in competition history alongside Yakubu and Wayne Rooney.
Could Haaland become one of the world’s best? Five things to know…
- Haaland become just the third teenager to bag a hat-trick on his UCL debut on Tuesday.
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer managed him at Molde and says everyone in Norway is “excited” by his development.
- The 19-year-old has now scored 14 goals in just eight league and UCL games for Salzburg this term.
- Team-mate Wober believes Haaland can be “one of the best strikers in the world”.
- Haaland himself admits it would be nice if Salzburg can repeat Ajax’s UCL exploits from last season.
Wednesday’s coverage has understandably been of opinions and questions around just how far Haaland can go in the game and Wober has tipped the “phenomenal” 19-year-old to rub shoulders with the game’s elite strikers.
“He is phenomenal,” he said. “With his height, to be so nimble and have such command of the ball. It’s really hard to play against him in training; you just have to foul him.
“Once again, he proved why he’s definitely going to become one of the best strikers in the world.”
Ajax were last season’s Champions League romance story, going on an unlikely run all the way to the semi-finals before losing out in heartbreaking fashion to Tottenham Hotspur.
And while Haaland himself is remaining guarded in his statement, he did admit it would be “nice” for Salzburg to be this season’s Ajax.
“Everything is possible. We all saw Ajax last year, it would be nice to be the new Ajax,” he said.
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“But we know there are a lot of good teams. It’s hard, but everything is possible.”
Describe Haaland in three words
Salzburg boss Jesse Marsch – who helped develop young talents such as Tyler Adams during his time in MLS with New York Red Bulls – knows he has a serious talent on his hands in Haaland.
In fact, when asked to describe the striker in just three words, the American was unable to contain himself, going beyond the remit of the question.
“Positive. Energetic. Electric. Or maybe electrifying!” he said.
Indeed, Tuesday night’s hat-trick was some statement that left us all either lost for words or with not enough to adequately describe just how impressive Haaland looks.
A phrase that Wober used was “crazy”, but perhaps not in footballing terms. During his post-match interviews, he said: “Erling is crazy. Last night our captain was walking with his daughter. Then a car stopped. Erling was inside. He rolled down the window. And there he was, listening to the Champions League anthem.”