For the first time in what I can remember, Norway has a player the opponent really fears, one who can decide a football match on his own. Erling Braut Haaland (20) is the man who makes the European Championship hopes better than in 20 years.
The superlatives are almost used up already. His development and the type he is, means that there are many indications that the “hype” is not excessive either. There is something about the gaze, with his calm in important moments, respect, but not fear – regardless of the opponent.
And his closing qualities, how accurate he is when the chances come, I remember it only with Ole Gunnar Solskjær of Norwegian strikers. John Carew also created fear in the opponents. But it was more for the violent physique than for the goal.
Haaland is feared for both reasons: Physically strong enough, fast enough – and then there is the ruthlessness (towards the opponents) in the closing moments.
With Erling Braut Haaland on the team, it is natural to believe more in a Norwegian play-off again, for the first time since the European Championships in 2000.
Who finishes in European top football today, there are not many who are better than Erling Braut Haaland. Maybe just Robert Lewandowski at Bayern Munich. It’s raw, it’s great – and it does not stop. Erling Braut Haaland spends all his energy on developing, listening, learning. He spends little time in the media, on everything that goes on around football.
And right here he has the advantage of having a father who has been involved in this himself, who knew what it took to reach the top, who can give the right advice, who can say the right things.
This is exactly where I think the distinction is between children who have a former top player to father, versus one who has only seen what is going on, who has read for information: Those who are sons of former top players have an advantage, because it is easier to listen to someone who, in practice, has proven what it takes to be someone who has the script to succeed – in theory.
Do “sons of Norway” get to it easier than other boys and girls, because they simply have a good football name? Maybe. In the beginning, it is probably an advantage. You are more easily seen, talked about and discovered. You have some advantages – in the beginning.
At the same time, I also think it, in the beginning, depends on which club you represent. An example: At a circuit team outing for boys born in 2002, where my son was with, Stabæk stopper Nicolas Pignatel Jenssen was also with. Then he represented Health.
Pignatel Jenssen did not move on from the 2002 collection. Two years later, as a Stabæk player, he was seen as one of Europe’s greatest midfielder talents.
Was he not seen because Helset is not a big club?