Like father, like son

So it looks highly likely that Erling Braut Haaland is on his way out of Borussia Dortmund and en route for either La Liga or the Premier League with Barcelona, Real Madrid, both Manchester clubs and Chelsea all in the frame. If he, or more significantly Mino Raiola, chooses England as his next destination, he will become another player to follow in his father’s footsteps. And furthermore if he goes to Manchester City he will be joining the same club his dad played for before Roy Keane’s premeditated act of vengeance accelerated the end of his playing career back in 2001. 

Of course 20 year-old Erling is a very different type of player to his father, having quickly built a reputation as a predatory striker of some renown, whereas Alf-Inge was primarily a defender/defensive midfielder. There is a long history of father and son combinations in the Premier League with seventeen pairings over the 29 seasons. Quite often they, like the Haalands, are cut from different cloth, as can be shown by a look at those with the most combined appearances. 

One of the most interesting contrasts between father and son is that between Rory and Liam Delap. After a few years at Derby and Southampton, Delap senior became one of the mainstays of Tony Pulis’ belligerent Stoke team, which established its prickly presence in the Premier League for a decade from 2008/09. Rory became known for his long throw-ins that underpinned the direct approach of Tony Pulis’ outfit. At the other end of the spectrum, Liam is currently trying to establish himself as a striker at The Etihad, having made just one solitary substitute appearance this season. Liam may be dreaming of emulating Sergio Agüero’s enviable goalscoring record but he must be concerned that his remote chances might be further restricted if Haaland does join.  

Top 5 father and son combined Premier League appearances

At the top of the filial charts stand two Danes who do occupy the same position on the pitch and whose careers just about overlapped. Peter Schmeichel racked up over 300 appearances over a decade from the inaugural Premier League season, collecting five winners’ medals along the way with Man United, before keeping for both Villa and Manchester City. His son Kasper is now on 239 games so needs a couple more seasons before matching Peter’s total. 

The younger Schmeichel started his youth career at City in 2002 and was at the club as his father played his last game in May 2003. Kasper did not make his debut in the Premier League until 2007/08 and then only played seven games before eventually moving to his current club Leicester City in 2011 when they were in the Championship. After earning promotion in 2014, Kasper also collected a Premier League winners’ medal but may never emulate his father’s feat of being one of only five keepers to score a Premier League goal, indeed Peter was the first when he did so for Villa in 2001 at Goodison Park. There is only one other keeper pairing on the list and that is Bryan and Angus Gunn who played for Norwich and Southampton respectively. 

Ian Wright is the only player on the list to have two sons with Premier League experience. Bradley played a couple of seasons at Manchester City as did Shaun who also played over 50 games for both Chelsea and QPR. Compared to Bradley’s 32, Ian made 187 mainly for Arsenal while Shaun is one of only two sons to have played more games than his father with 341. The three of them have between them reached 560 appearances, just ahead of the Schmeichels, who will overtake that total early next season assuming Kasper stays between the sticks.

The only other son to notch up more Premier League matches than their father is Burnley’s Jack Cork who has made 273 appearances and counting, while his father Alan made just 46 in the first two seasons with Sheffield United. Of the sixteen fathers whose sons have made Premier League appearances, ten played in the very first season of 1992/93. Three of those fathers played in the same Man United team with Steve Bruce and Paul Ince alongside Peter Schmeichel. 

The longevity of both Schmeichels is likely to remain unchallenged, indeed Erling will have to go some, if he does move to England, to get the Haalands near the top 5 let alone get anywhere near their fellow Scandinavians. His father made 181 appearances for his three clubs Nottingham Forest, Leeds and City so young Erling would have to make almost 150 appearances by playing close to every game for four seasons to get anywhere close, so he will hope to avoid coming across a latter-day Roy Keane who might curtail his opportunities to get enough matches under his belt.  

Published by richardfoster60

Author, broadcaster, historian, journalist. A regular contributor to the Guardian, Sky Sports and talkSPORT, my latest book is highly acclaimed Premier League Nuggets - "brilliantly written" - Darren Fletcher, "I love Premier League Nuggets" - Guy Mowbray, "the book is a labour of love" - Peter Drury.

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