Norway has, over the last five or six years, started to really see a huge pay-off from a long-term investment in academy talent. The Scandinavian nation has always been a solid footballing outpost, providing many good to great players over the years. However, it has been a long time since the nation has had a truly world-class player – in Erling Braut Haaland, though, they have that. The 21-year-old looks set to go down as one of the best strikers of the modern era. Could his family, though, have a second star on the way? It certainly seems so.
Meet Albet Braut Tjaaland – the cousin of Erling, and a quality young striker in his own right. The 17-year-old has come through at Molde, just as Haaland did. He scored on his deubt, just as Haaland did. Scoring on your debut at age 17 is always a big moment, and looks set to keep moving forward as a precocious young star in the Norwegian game. With his cousin scoring five goals in just three games so far this season, too, it’s easy to see where the excitement is stemming from.
Apparently, that cold-blooded style in front of goal is a family trait – Tjaaland produces that same fantastic finishing capacity. In July, he made his debut for Molde and promptly scored a fine goal. However, it is important to note that this was a cup game against third-tier opposition.
He also was regarded for apparently having scored a ridiculous 69 goals in just 37 games at various youth levels for Molde in a single season. However, youth staff at the club suggest he scored a more realistic 8 goals in 15 age-group games before making his senior bow.
Is the hype for Albert Braut Tjaaland justified?
It is rare that a family can produce more than one professional footballer, so the fact the family has a wide number of pros – former and current – is a major boon. How far Tjaaland can go, though, should never be held in relation to his who his cousin is. Having been noted as a young player with instinctive finishing, some fear the extra hype and pressure could become a burden for the youngster.
Trying to live up to the name of any professional in your family is tough. Trying to live up to the name of the best young striker in the world, though, is a major challenge to try and overcome. His manager at Molde, Erling Moe, was quick to try and put the breaks on the Tjaaland hype train by saying: “”He has a great future ahead of him if he does the everyday things 100 per cent and correctly, but I think that Erling is still a few steps ahead.”
For now, though, the youngster just needs to do what Haaland did – focus on what is front of you, develop as you can, and block out the noise and the hype that comes from afar.