Julian Alvarez told four-word message he should send Erling Haaland amid Man City frenzy

He was benched in the Community Shield against Liverpool, despite playing more than Erling Haaland in pre-season, and while Haaland struggled to impose himself on the game, Alvarez came off the bench to fire City level in the second half from close range. Then, as Haaland missed a good chance at the end, all the post-match attention has centred on the Norwegian ahead of the Premier League opener at West Ham, rather than on Alvarez's very encouraging cameo.

And Haaland will likely start at West Ham, leaving Alvarez to have to shine from the bench again. However, City legend Shaun Goater feels that dynamic should motivate the new Argentinian striker rather than demoralise him.

Speaking to MEN Sport, Goater said Alvarez can use the attention surrounding Haaland to send a simple message when he does play 'don't forget about me'.

“He's a typical, Southern American, tidy Argentinian player,” Goater said of Alvarez. “His work right, he's got a fighting spirit, die-hard, energetic, comes on, pops up scores this goal. I think it's brilliant for him because having been in a situation where everyone else is talking about another striker and you come in. I just want to remind people about myself.

“So I think that that's probably him thinking: 'don't forget about me.' No one's forgotten about him. But in his mind he'll be like, don't forget about me. So he's done brilliant to go score that goal and he'll play a huge part because again, he strikes me as one that will come to play wide, just a little bit right across the front. So his energy, tenacity and his quality will be a huge asset to us.”

Against Liverpool, Alvarez initially played from the right wing, before coming inside to partner Haaland at times, and Goater predicted that a formation of two strikers up front may not be a regular occurrence.

“Well, I can say this. I've tried to guess Pep's formation for the last five seasons and I haven't got it!” he laughed.

“I'm sure there'll be a point when the two of them are playing. Will they play as two out-and-out centre forwards? I couldn't rule that out because the game moves, the game evolves. Systems come in style systems go out of style. We've got two quality players and and the two of them are playing well. I could see at some point.

“Again, Alvarez strikes me as somebody that can play false nine, could also do a job out wide. And we know with Pep, he's always had a rotation, he's always had the players to play in a number of positions. I think the big surprise would be if Haaland played out wide! But if he was to play wide and play well, I also wouldn't be surprised because Pep sees things we don't see.”

And despite Haaland's quiet outing against Liverpool including his glaring miss just before full time Goater says there is no need to panic for City.

He said: “You've got to be there to miss. He was there to miss it. I know from being in that situation. That's a great thing. So we don't score every last chance. But the fact he's there I love that.

“Now if he isn't there to miss that, that's when I get worried. So I know there's criticism because he's a world-class striker that's missed this opportunity. I like the fact that he's actually there in the play, so long as he's there. He will put, nine out of 10 others away.

“I think his game will adjust because City don't adjust to a player but he has the quality to adjust and when I say the quality, it's getting involved in play enough that he then pops up in the right areas to be finishing chances and opportunity.

“His game will evolve as time goes on to become a little bit more to drop a little bit as opposed to just being up there. But he'll learn this stuff from Pep giving him this knowledge and this information so that how he is as a player today. You know, perhaps he isn't the same player in three, four years time.”

Goater was speaking as Asahi Super Dry and City Football Group announce a new multi-year deal that will see Japans Number One beer, known for its innovation, and unique Japanese super dry taste become Global Partner of City Football Group, which incorporates current reigning champions, Manchester City.

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