Cadan Murley: Studying Erling Haaland can help my England World Cup cause

Cadan Murley: Studying Erling Haaland can help my England World Cup cause

Cadan Murley has been analysing prolific Manchester City striker Erling Haaland to sharpen his own finishing as he targets a place in England’s World Cup squad.

Murley is happy to put his support for Manchester United on hold in the belief that even though Haaland plays a different sport, his predatory instincts provide a valuable insight into scoring.

Haaland recently set a new goalscoring record in a Premier League season with 52 – 36 in the top flight – as he helped City complete the treble, while Murley proved equally deadly in the Gallagher Premiership by ending 2022-23 at the top of the try chart with 15.

Erling Haaland's finishing has inspired Caden Murley
Erling Haaland’s finishing has inspired Cadan Murley (Martin Rickett/PA)

“Every sportsman looks at other sports to see how they can improve and you’ve just got to look at Haaland’s goalscoring record this season – it’s been absolutely incredible. As a United fan that’s a pretty tough thing to say!” Harlequins wing Murley said.

“For a lot of those goals he’s been called a tap-in merchant, but you have to be in the right place at the right time. A lot of that is down to his relationships and his understanding of the players around him.

“He’s got some of the best assisters around him – Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez – but he still has to be in the right place at the right time to know what they are going to do and how to finish.

“Watching him play, he’s always so alert, he’s always live in the play and looking around for where the opportunity is going to come.

“And a lot of wingers these days, that’s where their tries come. You need to read the game early and know who is around you.

“At Quins, we’ve got Andre Esterhuizen and Alex Dombrandt and they are the two who are going to look for the offload the most, so if I can flood in around them, I know that’s when the touch is going to come.

“I know Marcus Smith prefers to kick one way, or when he looks a couple of times that’s when he’s going to do it. Little things like that, having those relationships with the players around you, is massive.”

The task now facing Murley is to rapidly develop his familiarity with his England team-mates having been picked in a 41-man World Cup training squad that will be reduced to 33 on August 7.

The uncapped 23-year-old has been working on his aerial skills to improve his all-round game, but it is understanding the nuances of playmakers such as Owen Farrell and George Ford that will be key to securing his place at France 2023.

“Haaland joined Manchester City and fitted in seamlessly, which is a skill in itself. It’s about working on how you can come in and and do that as quickly as possible in this environment,” Murley said.

Cadan Murley is a lethal finisher from close range
Cadan Murley is a lethal finisher from close range (Ben Whitley/PA)

“We’re all chucked together from different clubs and all play a different way. Getting to know people on and off the pitch firstly will help.

“Then going through different clips from training, watching different clips of people during the training and analysis – what they are thinking at different points – that can help as well.

“I’ve got those relationships with the Quins lads already, but we don’t know who’s going to get picked for the World Cup, so I need to have relationships with all the 41-man squad at the moment.”