Salzburg's Jesse Marsch: Erling Haaland in Football's 'Upper Echelon of Talents'

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 20, 2020

MOENCHENGLADBACH, GERMANY - MARCH 07: (BILD ZEITUNG OUT) Erling Haaland of Borussia Dortmund celebrate after winning  the Bundesliga match between Borussia Moenchengladbach and Borussia Dortmund at Borussia-Park on March 7, 2020 in Moenchengladbach, Germany. (Photo by Alex Gottschalk/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
DeFodi Images/Getty Images

Red Bull Salzburg manager Jesse Marsch has hailed Borussia Dortmund starlet Erling Haaland as already being one of the top talents in world football. 

Marsch managed the 19-year-old before he moved to BVB in January. The coach told the Planet Futbol Podcast (h/t Goal's Sean Wilson):

"He's a special personality. He's clearly an incredible talent. I mean, his athleticism, his speed, it right away puts him in the upper echelon of talents in our sport.

"And then you add his desire to be successful, his mentality every day, the way he works at his technical ability, the way he works at his finishing every day, how much he puts into trying to be the best footballer he can possibly be every day."

Marsch said the striker is "dealing with a little bit of fame" and pointed to Paris Saint-Germain's mocking of him after they knocked Dortmund out of the UEFA Champions League earlier in March:

"So he'll have his challenges, and he's only 19 years old, and he's going to make mistakes," he added. "But in the end, his desire to be the best is different than anything I've ever seen."

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Haaland exploded on to the scene at Salzburg this season as he racked up an astonishing 28 goals and seven assists in 22 matches during the first half of the campaign.

That included eight goals in the Champions League group stage against Liverpool, Napoli and Genk.

The youngster not only possesses great pace, he also has the physicality to compete with defenders for the ball, too.

He hasn't slowed down since making the step up from the Austrian Bundesliga to the German Bundesliga, either:

Haaland has nine goals in eight league games for Dortmund, and his efforts were recognised in February:

The teenager also scored in his solitary DFB-Pokal appearance, and he netted a brace against PSG in the first leg of their last-16 tie (U.S. and UK only, respectively):

In total, he has scored 40 goals in 33 matches this season for Salzburg and Dortmund, as well as producing nine assists.

He has spent 2,200 minutes on the pitch, so that's a goal every 55 minutes on average. Including his assists, he's had a direct hand in a goal every 45 minutes he's played.

He'll play a key role in Dortmund's Bundesliga title push during the run-in, provided the season resumes from its hiatus amid the outbreak of COVID-19.

The Bundesliga has been suspended until at least April 2, but UEFA has committed to finishing the season by June 30.

Bayern Munich are four points clear of Dortmund with nine matches left to play, one of which is a trip for the Bavarians to BVB's Westfalenstadion.