The Swedish head coach has talked up the talents of the Borussia Dortmund star ahead of a UEFA Nation’s League meeting with Northern Ireland
Norway boss Lars Lagerback has described Erling Haaland as “unique”, while comparing him to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The 2019-20 season turned out to be a memorable one for Haaland, who scored 44 goals in 40 appearances across all competitions for two different clubs.
The 20-year-old spent the first half of the campaign at Red Bull Salzburg, where his prolific form in the Austrian Bundesliga and Champions League earned him a €20 million (£18m/$24m) move to Borussia Dortmund in the winter transfer window.
Haaland instantly adapted to the demands of top-flight football in Germany, and his goals helped Lucien Favre’s side finish second in the final league standings behind Bayern Munich.
The Norwegian is now being tipped to reach the very highest level of the game, with Lagerback seeing similarities between the young striker and six-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi and Juventus superstar Ronaldo.
The Norway manager thinks Haaland’s strong mindset holds him in good stead to follow in the footsteps of the world’s greatest players, as he told a press conference: “I’ve maybe been around too long but I have never seen a guy since maybe Messi or Ronaldo that developed at such a young age.
“That’s very unique and he has all the possibilities to become a really world-class player – if you look at the offensive third of the pitch and in the box then he’s already absolutely top class.
“He perhaps has a little bit more to do in the link play but being so young, he’s already at a really high level.
“With the qualities he already has and his focused personality – if he can stay free from injury then he can be a really top-class player.”
Haaland got on the scoresheet during Norway’s first fixture of the new UEFA Nation’s League campaign last week, but couldn’t stop Lagerback’s side from falling to a 2-1 defeat at home to Austria.
The Lions have the opportunity to bounce back quickly when they take in a trip to Northern Ireland on Monday night, with Ian Baraclough’s side also looking for their first win having been held to a 1-1 draw by Romania on Friday.
Lagerback has singled out former Manchester United defender Jonny Evans, who is now on the books of Leicester, as a man to watch for Norway in both boxes.
“Of course there are some great players and some experienced guys, but now I have heard that Evans is probably back,” he added.
“He’s a leader. I’ve had a lot of respect for him both with Manchester United and now Leicester.
“I think he’s a very important player for them to get back in the team so if I would mention one player I would mention him.”