Thierry Henry Identifies Erling Haaland’s Weakness as Scrutiny Grows After Roy Keane’s Criticism

Real Madrid kept Erling Haaland very quiet at the Bernabeu (Image: Getty). Thierry Henry’s observation will offer Erling Haaland food for thought following Roy Keane’s harsh critique.

The Arsenal legend has pinpointed how the Norwegian striker can improve his ball retention skills, amidst ongoing analysis of his overall performance. Haaland failed to find the back of the net in Manchester City’s Champions League quarter-final clash against Real Madrid, where Antonio Rudiger proved a tough adversary.

Despite the thrilling 3-3 draw, marked by spectacular goals from Phil Foden, Josko Gvardiol, Rodrygo, and Federico Valverde, it was a subdued night for the 23-year-old forward. While Haaland didn’t score, no one questions his goal-scoring prowess.

Since joining the Premier League team, the Man City star has racked up an impressive 82 goals in 90 appearances. However, his contribution when he doesn’t score has come under scrutiny recently.

His performances have been closely examined, especially after City’s goalless stalemate with Arsenal, where Keane likened his play to that of a ‘League Two player’. Henry, on the other hand, has offered a more constructive criticism for the ex-Borussia Dortmund ace.

The French pundit suggested a simple tweak that could enhance Haaland’s game. “I always, always say that I’ve seen strikers not scoring but playing really well for the team away from home and doing exactly what you need to for your team away from home, or even at home,” Henry said on CBS Sports.

“But more often than not you judge a striker for his goals – fair enough, we already know that. People can get better and I believe in that.

But there is one thing that he doesn’t do ever so well, and he’s always shoulder to shoulder with the defender, so you can go like this, and get your foot around. “But if you are like this [square on, hand on defender’s shoulder] there is no way you can get that ball now.

I’ve created a distance, you can’t get the ball. Even at three-quarters, you can protect the ball.

Afterwards it’s all about your quality, but you can’t let the defender get their leg around you, or get an arm around you, you have to grab it first then dictate.” Keane was far less forgiving, saying: “The level of his general play is so poor and not just today; his laying stuff off, headers or whatever it might be.

In front of goal, he’s the best in the world, but his general play for such a player it is so poor. Not just today.

He has to improve that. He’s almost like a League Two player that’s the way I look at him.

His general play has to improve. It will do over the next few years.

[He’s a] brilliant striker but he has to prove his overall game. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding.

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