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There was a time earlier in the season when people were asking if Erling Haaland was the right fit for Manchester City, now, in the aftermath of him breaking the Premier League goals record for a single season, the question is 'how good can the Norwegian striker be if this is him not at his best?'

Even during the commentary of City's 2-0 Wednesday night win over West Ham, that returned them to the top of the Premier League, Gary Neville could be heard lamenting the number of times blue-shirted midfielders either ignored Haaland's runs or failed to play him in. “He could have double the numbers,” said Neville, or words to that effect, on a night when he passed a record jointly held by Andy Cole and Alan Shearer at the first time of asking.

It is just the latest in a series of accolades the 22-year-old has racked up this season. In 2022/23, he became the youngest player to reach 30 Champions League goals, the fastest player to 30 Champions League goals and the scorer of most goals in all competitions by a Premier League player. In an era, when it feels as if some of these labels are a contrivance, there is little need to construct titles for him. The best indicator of a player's talent has always been the eye-test and Haaland regularly has them popping from sockets in incredulity. If his goalscoring talent requires some affirmation by way of a statistical list then you only need to look at the one that Haaland now sits atop by becoming the first player to score 35 times in a season. As well as Cole and Shearer, he is ahead of such luminaries as Mo Salah, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez. Barring injury, it is hard to see how Haaland does not surpass his own record eventually and it might even be as early as next season. A year down the line he will be more used to English football, more adept at understanding where his team-mates like to play the ball and, crucially for them, where he likes it to be played.


Indeed, with four games remaining, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that he moves some distance away from his own tally of 35. Haaland is that big boy in the playground, quite capable of scoring multiple times as he single-handedly breaks a game.

That has been apparent since his nine-goal haul for Norway in a group match against Honduras at the Under-20 World Cup in Poland, a feat which helped him win the tournament's golden boot.

So far, at full international level, it has been a similar story. It took him until his third cap to register his first goal, but by cap six he had the same number of strikes. At present he sits on 22 goals in 21 games.

The prospect of Haaland improving is not just ominous news for Premier League teams but also for Scotland, too. He sat out both of Norway's opening two Euro 2024 Group A qualifiers against Spain and Georgia – which ended in a defeat and a draw.

Next up is the visit of Steve Clarke's group toppers and while Scotland will travel to the Ullevaal Stadium in Oslo next month full of the kind of confidence that a 100% points and clean sheet record brings, they will also know that neither Spain nor Cyprus – their victims thus far in qualifying – possess anything like the kind of quality in attack that Haaland brings to Norway's front line.