Erling Haaland knows his Manchester derby history … but will call dad Alfie before taking on Man Utd for added motivation

ERLING HAALAND will chat with his father Alf Inge before playing in his first Manchester derby on Sunday.

The Norwegian hotshot grew up as a City fan and will need no extra motivation for the showdown with United at the Etihad.

Manchester City superstar Erling Haaland faces his first Manchester derby

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Manchester City superstar Erling Haaland faces his first Manchester derbyPhoto credit: Reuters
Alf-Inge Haaland knows the Manchester derby after his clash with Roy Keane

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Alf-Inge Haaland knows the Manchester derby after his clash with Roy KeanePhoto credit: Getty Images – Getty
Haaland senior's career was all but ended by Keane's horror tackle

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Haaland senior’s career was all but ended by Keane’s horror tacklePhoto credit: sky

But Haaland Sr could offer some – as he was pushed into retirement by a Roy Keane horror tackle in that game 21 years ago.

The scars obviously run pretty deep in the 14-goal striker’s family.

When Erling was introduced to City fans at a special event in July, he was asked which game he was most looking forward to.

“I don’t like saying the words…Manchester United,” he replied – to great cheers from the fans who had gathered to greet him.

On Sunday he will be able to show the Red Devils for the first time how much he doesn’t like them – and maybe a few words from his old man will ring in his ears.

The £51.4million ace said: “I’ll probably talk to my dad about it, yes, but I know what it’s like and I’m ready.

“I’m excited, it’s going to be a great experience. Hopefully a good, intense game and I’m looking forward to it.

“I expect United to be diligent, they will come to us to try and destroy us, but we have to believe in ourselves and perform well and take advantage of being at home.

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“We have to attack the game.”

Alf Inge’s career was not ended by Keane’s challenge – but he later claimed his sore knee was a factor in his retirement the following year.

But his boy says he has other, more positive memories of the derby – one in particular sticks in his mind.

He said: “I remember [Mario] Balotelli at Old Trafford with the Why Always Me celebration. I remember that one particularly well. I must say.

“I have some good memories, but I’m looking forward to making some new ones.”

Much has been written about Haaland’s match against Lisandro Martinez, United’s 5ft, 9in defender – but the Norwegian says he’s not overly concerned about who he’s up against.

He said: “I haven’t really thought about it too much. I’ve played against a lot of good defenders – but there’s nobody I don’t want to play against. It does not matter.”

“But I hope we can play our best football – if we can, it could be a nice evening.

“I hope it will be fun. I hope everyone at City is ready for the game and attacking at the same time.”

It’s easy to forget that Haaland could become the first player in Prem history to score three straight hat-tricks at home – assuming the other two came in late August.

Erling Haaland remembers Mario Balotelli's famous

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Erling Haaland remembers Mario Balotelli’s famous “Why Always Me” momentPhoto credit: Action Images – Reuters
Erling Haaland could take some advice from his father Alf-Inge before facing Manchester United

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Erling Haaland could take some advice from his father Alf-Inge before facing Manchester UnitedPhoto credit: Getty

He smiled, “I don’t think about that. Of course I love scoring goals but I want to play well and do well with the team and if we can do that then I should always score goals as a striker.”

The bad news for United – and for defenders across the country – is that Pep Guardiola believes Haaland has put his injury worries behind him.

In his last year at Borussia Dortmund he struggled to stay fit and was therefore unable to take part in the first week of pre-season.

City sent physio Mario Pafundi to the Norwegian camp with their striker last week to keep an eye on him and ensure the drills that have worked so well so far are being followed.

And the city boss said: “I’ve always told the club that the most important department in the back room is the physios. You take care of the legs.

“Erling struggled a lot with injuries in Dortmund last year and came here with minor problems after an operation in the summer.

“He started working with Mario and other guys and thanks to them – and his work ethic – he can now play regularly.

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“It wasn’t possible last season. Thanks to Erling and the treatment from the boys.

“Clubs make a lot of money when players can play and that’s mostly thanks to the physios.”

CITY XI (probably): Ederson, Walker, Dias, Akanji, Cancelo, Rodri, De Bruyne, Bernardo, Mahrez, Haaland, Foden.

https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6342627/erling-haaland-manchester-city-manchester-united-alf-inge/ Erling Haaland knows his Manchester derby history … but will call dad Alfie before taking on Man Utd for added motivation

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