Frank Lampard: I once tried to sign ‘amazing’ Erling Haaland

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Everton are hoping to mitigate the threat of a seemingly unstoppable striker their manager admires on New Year’s Eve.

Frank Lampard has spoken of his admiration for Erling Haaland, revealing he previously tried to sign the prolific Manchester City striker.

Haaland became the quickest ever player to reach 20 Premier League goals when he hit that landmark in just his 14th outing in the competition at Leeds United on Wednesday.

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Clearly, the Norwegian has made a mockery of pre-season suggestions that he might need a period of adaptation to new surroundings and a new league, though that has come as no surprise to Lampard.

The Toffees boss is all too familiar with the qualities possessed by a striker he must try to contain when his team head to the Etihad on New Year's Eve - not least because he once tried to sign him.

Asked how the striker has settled into English football so quickly, he replied: "Because he's an amazing player and I think the ultimate, top level of player generally can do that, can come to whatever league.

"I've got huge respect. I've coached against him in a pre-season game against Salzburg and I was sort of eyes wide open at this young boy who had just signed for Salzburg.

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"It was clear in our pre-match preparation what this boy was already. I tried to sign him at Chelsea, it wasn't to be, and it was clear what he was going to become.

"Fair play to him because I know we're going up against him tomorrow but I respect individuals at the top of their game. We watched the World Cup and people like Messi and Mbappe in that final, it's what football's all about.

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"And Haaland has put himself into that bracket at a very young age."

Of course, Lampard doesn't want his players to stand and admire Haaland during Saturday's game, and is aiming to come up with a plan to suffocate the City forward.

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He added: "You have to do all you can, it's a very difficult task because of his qualities and his power, we're all seeing it.

"There's nothing but respect there when you watch it from afar. When you go against him you have to try and not give him the spaces that he wants, it's as simple as that.

"We have to do our best to do that and in our prep we'll do that but, with a player of that talent, of course at any moment they can hurt you in their own way."

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