‘It’s always an easy answer’: Manchester United icon Jaap Stam is confident he could stop 52-goal Erling Haaland and says the best thing about the Norweigen goal machine is the service around him
- Jaap Stam says that in order to stop Erling Haaland you must starve his supply line
- Stam played for Manchester United between 1998 and 2001
Former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam is confident he could deal with Erling Haaland in his prime and claims there is an ‘easy answer’ on how to do it.
The Dutchman says that the best way to stop the Norwegian goal machine from scoring is to starve his service line by marking Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin de Bruyne out of the game.
Speaking to the BBC ahead of Manchester City’s FA Cup triumph over United on Saturday, he said: ‘I would just defend him like you need to.
‘It’s always an easy answer. Always look at the opposition and the qualities they have.
‘As a defender, you need to look at they’re striker, the ability he has. So, you need to prepare yourself and trust in your own ability.
Jaap Stam believes there is an ‘easy answer’ for stopping Erling Haaland
Haaland has scored 52 goals in all competitions this season
Stam played for Manchester United from 1998 to 2001
‘But most important to him (Haaland) is the players around him.
‘He doesn’t need to do a lot, just take up the positions to score but there are always players like de Bruyne or Gundogan who can deliver these balls up to him as well so it’s important for United to block them out as well.’
Stam spent four seasons with the Red Devils and was part of the great treble-winning side of 1998-1999.
During his time in the Premier League, Stam built up a fearsome reputation as a formidable defensive force.
Both quick and strong, Stam was noted for his ability to pull off last-ditch tackles and coped well when up against world class strikers such as Thierry Henry, Alan Shearer and Michael Owen.
But a tussle with Haaland is a tall order for any top-quality defender. The 22-year-old has bagged 36 goals in the Premier League this season, an all-time record, and has the highest goal conversion rate of any player to have bagged 10 goals or more (34%) during the 2022/2023 campaign.
Whether Stam could have been the man to stop him, we’ll never truly be known, but his confidence is certainly admirable.