The phrase “putting up video game numbers” rarely describes an athlete’s performance as well as it does Erling Haaland’s early days in the English Premier League.
Since moving from German team Borussia Dortmund in the summer, Manchester City forward Haaland, 22, has scored 20 goals in 10 league games and four other competitions. With 15 league goals, Haaland is nearly halfway to the English Premier League single season record of 31 after just 10 games.
Haaland has already shattered records early in the season. He became the fastest player to reach 15 goals in the English Premier League, according to CNN.
Additionally, Haaland is the first English Premier League player to score a hat-trick in three home games in a row, CNN reported.
So what has made his introduction in the English game so startling? The New York Times tried to answer.
“It is that combination of attributes — abilities that are at once complementary but somehow contradictory: a player so tall should not be so fast; a player so powerful should not be so elastic; a player so strong should not have such finesse — that makes Haaland not only so effective, but also in the truest sense exceptional,” the article said.
Soccer minds who have faced Haaland in his brief career have a stormy verdict for his future opponents. American soccer coach Pellegrino Matarazzo, who faced Haaland a few times during his stint in Germany, told The New York Times that “you can’t stop him,” although Matarazzo’s Stuttgart team got closer to containing him than many have.
While Haaland’s foes scratch their heads about how to face off against him, his dominance poses problems for another demographic as well: video game developers.
Football Manager 2023 comes out next month, and Miles Jacobson, studio director at Sports Interactive, told Goal that Haaland’s reality bending performances so far this season complicate things in virtual reality.
“Haaland is like a machine,” Jacobson told Goal. “We had a few problems with Haaland during the development phase because sometimes (the quality assurance team) will report he hasn’t got enough goals.”