Shaun Goater is confident that Erling Haaland will soon be content to score goals “left, right and centre” and “really have fun” in a Manchester City team he hopes to retain the Premier League title this season.
After recording 86 goals in 89 appearances for Borussia Dortmund, Haaland joined City for just over £50m in June.
He played the entire duration of Saturday’s Community Shield clash with Liverpool and it was a frustrating match for the 22-year-old Norwegian international as City lost 3-1 and he landed a shot at the end of the bar at close range.
His Premier League debut is set to take place on Sunday, when Pep Guardiola’s men open their title defense at West Ham.
Former City striker Goater, who played alongside Haaland’s father Alf-Inge Haaland at the club, told the PA news agency: “I’m very confident he will score – in fact, I know he will score goals.
“I think giving him the better part of a week to two weeks at the start of the season and we will only see the goals coming left, right and centre.
“He will start to understand and know the qualities that City have and where his goals will come from, and I have no doubt he will score them – he will really enjoy himself at City.
“I’m not the least bit worried about goals. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up scoring two, even in the first game of the championship. I really have confidence not just in him but in how we play and produce opportunities.
“I would easily expect him to score 20 goals because he is a quality player in a quality team.”
City also have Julian Alvarez and Kalvin Phillips as new faces in a squad that saw the departure of Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling, Fernandinho and Oleksandr Zinchenko.
Goater, who scored 103 goals for City between 1998 and 2003, says he expects Guardiola’s team to “put into action”, and when asked who he thinks would win the championship, he added: “Easy question – City of course We trust Pep, in terms of the way he makes us play.”
Goater was speaking at the launch of a partnership between City Football Group and Asahi Super Dry beer, along with former City forward Shaun Wright-Phillips.
Wright-Phillips is also backing City to be champions again this season – and thinks Chelsea, another of his former clubs and the team Sterling joined, will lose the top four.
“I think City will win the league. I still think it will be City, Liverpool.”
“So for some reason I have this weird feeling that Chelsea are going to drop into the top four. So I think after that it will be Spurs and Arsenal, I think they will be in the top four this year. I don’t think Chelsea or Manchester United will have the consistency of Spurs and Arsenal.”
Wright-Phillips also gave his opinion on the news that Premier League players will no longer kneel before each match, with the gesture now being used at specific times throughout this season to ‘amplify the message that racism is not takes place in football or in society’.
This includes the season opener round of games, dedicated ‘No Room for Racism’ games in October and March, on Boxing Day, the final day and the FA Cup and Carabao Cup finals.
Wright-Phillips said: “I’m kind of in agreement with that. I think as long as the people with the most power are doing their jobs, i.e. on social media and at the top of the Premier League, the FA and UEFA… the players don’t have to get down on their knees to do that.
“Once they see it, they must isolate it – I think anyone who enters into territory of discrimination or racism, just banish them for life, make the punishment harsher.
“I think the players have shown that they are together, they have sent that message, and now it’s up to the bigger people who have all the power and say to stand up and do something about it.
“Players have done as much as humanly can possibly for two seasons now, and they do it on social media. They shouldn’t, they are meant to be protected.
“If a player says something back to someone, all these hierarchies fall on the player. Why is it different otherwise?”
:: Asahi Super Dry has been announced as a global partner of City Football Group, which incorporates Manchester City, under a new multi-year contract.