Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has suggested that Erling Haaland is over the niggling injury problem that limited him to 71 appearances in two full seasons at Borussia Dortmund.
Haaland has emerged as one of the most prolific goalscorers in the world in recent years, netting an astonishing 149 times for club and country since the start of his breakout 2019/20 season.
The Norwegian scored virtually a goal per game for Dortmund last season (29 in 30) but he had multiple spells out of action because of muscle injuries. As a result, there were some concerns over how he might hold up in the more physical Premier League this season.
But even though Guardiola hinted earlier in the campaign at rest and rotation being important, Haaland is yet to miss a game for City and has scored 14 times in only 10 appearances.
The City boss puts that down to working with City physio Mario Pafundi, who even travelled with Haaland on international duty recently to keep an eye on things.
“Erling struggled a lot in Dortmund last year with injuries and arrived here with small problems. He started to work with Mario and other guys and thanks to them and [Haaland’s] work ethic, he can play regularly now,” Guardiola explained ahead of Sunday’s Manchester derby.
Haaland had the opportunity to join Manchester United in January 2020, a move that would have reunited him with former Molde boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. But he chose Dortmund and that time and then didn’t even consider United as an option for him this past summer.
“On our list, I think City is the best team,” his father Alf Inge Haaland said in the film documenting the player’s decision-making process.
“[Bayern] Munich is number two. We have Real Madrid as number three, Paris Saint-Germain as number four. We also have some English teams other than City who are quite good…Liverpool and Chelsea. Also, there is Barcelona. They are sort of in the same row.”
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Marcus Rashford pays tribute to late friend with goal celebration
Marcus Rashford has revealed that his celebration following his first goal against Wales was a tribute to a friend who’d recently passed away.
The Man Utd man was in electric form for the Three Lions on Tuesday evening, scoring a brace and catapulting himself to the top of the tournament goalscoring charts in the process. In scoring his second and third goal in Qatar, Rahsford became the first Man Utd player to score three goals at a World Cup for England since Sir Bobby Charlton achieved the feat way back in 1966.
Speaking after the game to the press, Rashford revealed that he pointed to the sky following his first goal in order to pay tribute to his friend who passed away following a long battle with cancer:
“I lost one of my friends a couple of days ago. He had quite a long battle with cancer. I’m pleased I scored for him, he was a big supporter and good friend of mine. He was someone who came into my life.”
Rashford also gave an assessment of the game itself and his overall performance stating: “I fancied a free-kick in the first half, but the one in the second half was in a better position. From there it’s about being calm and executing what you do in training. They don’t go in often but I was glad it did today.
“It’s a great feeling. We were a bit disappointed after the USA game, and the only way to bounce back is to have a good performance in your next game; I thought we did it. It was just about taking the chances when they came.”
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Tottenham ask Inter about availability of key player
Tottenham Hotspur have made enquiries to Inter over right wing-back Denzel Dumfries, 90min understands.
Spurs are on the hunt for reinforcements at wing-back, with 90min previously reporting that one of Emerson Royal and Matt Doherty could be sold in January, while a loan move for Djed Spence looks likely.
On their list of targets is Dumfries, who is currently at the World Cup with the Netherlands. Inter need to sell one star player by the end of the season to help ease their financial woes.
It was previously thought that Milan Skriniar would be the man to make way, but he will either sign a new contract or leave for free when his current deal expires at the end of the season.
Instead, Inter will look to sell Dumfries in January and loan him back for the rest of the season, though Spurs would push to take him off their hands straight away.
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In addition to Tottenham, Chelsea are also interested in the Dutchman, and this could drive Dumfries’ price up.
Dumfries signed for Inter in 2021 as a replacement for the outgoing Achraf Hakimi, whose sale partly contributed to the exit of current Spurs head coach Antonio Conte.
He scored five goals from wing-back in his debut season at San Siro and has found the net twice more this term.
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