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Everton Decided To Reject Teenage Erling Haaland After Four-Day Trial

Everton Decided To Reject Teenage Erling Haaland After Four-Day Trial

Everton once rejected the chance to sign Erling Haaland after he completed a four-day trial with the club as a teenager.

The Borussia Dortmund goal machine was a striker at Norwegian club Bryne back when he was invited by Everton to train with their academy.

However Ian Atkins (Everton's head of European recruitment until 2016) has explained to the Liverpool Echo why the club turned down the chance to sign Haaland, admitting: "He was one that got away for Everton."

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It's safe to say turning down a striker who now has 18 goals in only 13 Champions League games at age 20 - and is worth well over £100 million - was, indeed, a bad decision.

But Atkins explains that the signs of his talent were there according to Brian King, the Toffees talent-spotter who tipped the club off to Haaland's potential over five years ago.

"Brian King was really excited about this kid," Atkins told the Liverpool Echo.

"He'd watched Haaland a lot and rated him really highly. He gets on to the club and manages to get him in for four days with the academy so that the coaches can have a look at him and see what they think.

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"This is when Haaland is at Bryne, before the Molde move, so he's raw but he's got all these great attributes you don't often see in someone so young.

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"He comes in for four days and the academy decided he wasn't good enough, something that Brian King didn't agree with. He thought there was a real talent in there but they didn't agree. He was one that got away for Everton, but you get that in football.

"I think Haaland would have suited the English game, though."

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It's safe to say that Haaland - a 6ft 4in colossus with remarkable technique and a hunger for goals - would indeed have been ideally suited to English football.

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Instead of Everton, however, the teenage Haaland signed for Molde and played under current Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. He scored 20 goals in 50 games there before a move to Red Bull Salzburg, where he became a star.

As Atkins says, every club has a 'one that got away'. Kylian Mbappe had a trial at Chelsea as a 13-year-old before joining Monaco's academy, while Roy Keane was rejected by Brighton as a teenager for being too small.

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Haaland has ties to England, however, having been born in Leeds while his father Alf-Inge played for the club.

Safe to say Everton are probably wishing they offered that raw teenager a contract, back when he popped over from Norway for a trial.

All imagery: PA Images

Topics: Football, Erling Haaland, Everton

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Alex Reid

Alex Reid is a writer at SPORTbible who’s previously strung words together for FourFourTwo, Boxing News, The Guardian and, yes, Cruise International (it’s about big ships, not Tom). Interests range from football and boxing to real sports like WWE and darts. He is not a cage fighter.