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“Fourth Division Player” Erling Haaland: Pep Guardiola Responds to Roy Keane Criticism

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has defended his star striker, after TV pundit Roy Keane criticized Erling Haaland.

“The level of his game is so pitiful. Not just today. […] He’s almost like a player from League Two (English fourth division),” the former world-class player and current TV pundit Roy Keane said on Sky Sports about Erling Haaland, who had a lackluster day during the 0-0 match between Arsenal and Manchester City.

Even though Keane added that the Norwegian is “the best in front of goal” and also a “brilliant, fantastic striker,” the Irishman’s criticism caused a media echo and now also prompted a reaction from City manager Pep Guardiola.

“I completely disagree with him, absolutely not. He [Haaland] is a player for the second or third league? I don’t think so,” Guardiola said before the City game against Aston Villa, responding to Keane’s criticism and adding, “He is the best striker in the world.”

Haaland had only 23 touches of the ball in the game against the Gunners and also struggled against the solid defense. However, Guardiola identified a different reason for the draw: “The reason why we [against Arsenal] didn’t create many chances was not because of Erling, but because we need more presence in the final third with more people.”

After defending his attacker, Pep also aimed a dig at the Haaland-critical TV pundit. “I am surprised that it comes from a former player. I can understand it from journalists, but former players are always a surprise. It’s like with referees, when they retire, they criticize the referees.”

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