Shaun Goater is confident Erling Haaland will soon settle into scoring goals “left, right and centre” and “really enjoying himself” in a Manchester City side he expects to retain the Premier League title this season.
After registering 86 goals in 89 games for Borussia Dortmund, Haaland joined City for just over £50m in June.
He played the entirety of Saturday’s Community Shield clash with Liverpool and it proved to be something of a frustrating encounter for the 22-year-old Norway international as City lost 3-1 and he hit a late effort against the post from close range.
His Premier League debut comes 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 sure he’s going to score goals – in fact I know he’s going to score goals.
“I think you give him the best part of a week to two weeks at the start of the season and we’ll just 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 that he will score them – he will really enjoy himself at City.
“I’m not worried about the goals at all. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up scoring a couple even in the first series game. I have real confidence not only in him but how we play and create opportunities.
“I would easily expect him to score 20 goals, because he is a quality player, in a quality team.”
City have also brought in Julian Alvarez and Kalvin Phillips as new faces in a squad that has seen Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling, Fernandinho and Oleksandr Zinchenko depart.
Goater, who scored 103 goals for City between 1998 and 2003, says he expects Guardiola’s side to “kick it on” and when asked who he thought would win the league, added: “One simple question – City, of course. In Pep, we trust in the way he makes us play.
Goater was speaking at the launch of a partnership between City Football Group and Asahi Super Dry beer, alongside former City winger Shaun Wright-Phillips.
Wright-Phillips is also backing City to be champions again this term – and believes Chelsea, another of his former clubs and since Sterling has joined, will miss out on the top four.
“I think City will win the league. I still think it will be City, Liverpool, said the former England international.
“So for some reason I have a strange feeling that Chelsea are going to drop out of 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 same consistency as Spurs and Arsenal.
Wright-Phillips has also given his thoughts on the news that Premier League players will no longer kneel before every game, with the gesture now to be used at specific moments throughout this season to “reinforce the message that racism has no place in football or society”.
It includes the opening round of the season, dedicated ‘No Room for Racism’ matches in October and March, Boxing Day, Final Day and the FA Cup and Carabao Cup finals.
Wright-Phillips said: “I’m kind of on board with it. I think as long as people with a higher power are doing their jobs, ie on the social media side and high up in the Premier League and the FA and UEFA… the players shouldn’t have to kneel down to do it.
“When they see it, they should isolate it – I think anyone who goes into a territory of discrimination or racism, just ban them for life, make the punishment more severe.
“I think the players have shown that they are together, they have sent that message and now it is up to the bigger people who have all the power and say to stand up and do something about it.
“The players have done as much as they humanly can, possibly through two seasons now, and they do it over social media. They shouldn’t, they are meant to be protected.
“If a player says something back to someone, all these hierarchies come down to the player. Why is it different the other way around?”
:: Asahi Super Dry has been announced as a global partner of the City Football Group, which includes Manchester City, in a new multi-year deal.