Rasmus Hojlund is on the right path but remains the ‘rough diamond’ Manchester United admitted they had signed.
In a summer in which United were in desperate need of a new striker and top target Harry kane would finally leave Tottenham, to instead sign a prospect – even one with sky-high potential – was a risk. One that United are feeling positive and negative consequences from
Hojlund is already a fantastic player who is leading the line week in, week out for Erik ten hag side and making it better. He is only 20 so has plenty of time to grow but is already displaying thrilling examples of pace, physicality and skill
But he isn’t yet delivering the goals United need. Hojlund has just three goals from 10 games so far and is yet to find the net in the Premier League. He has been unfortunate to see some disallowed and his strikes in Europe have been great, but it has not been a good enough return just yet.
United were severely lacking in goals last season with only Aston Villa and Fulham scoring fewer than them of the teams that finished in the top 10. Now, with Marcus Rashford being unable to rediscover his excellent form, they have dried up even further
They have scored fewer goals than any other team in the top 10 and have only managed to net more than Crystal Palace, Nottingham Forest, Fulham, Everton, Luton, Burnley, Bournemouth and Sheffield United. That’s not the level United want to be at.
There is understandably a great deal of patience around Hojlund, which is good as he’s clearly a talent for the future. But United are going to start needing more contributions from him soon or the pressure will start to build.
Thankfully, it seems Hojlund has a wise head on his shoulders. He knows he needs to play to a high standard every match but is also calm over the fact he still has plenty of developing to do
“I know my worth. I know I have to perform every day because I play for Manchester United,” he said. “In the end, I am only 20 years old and I am not the finished article yet. I still have a lot to improve and I am getting there slowly.
“It has gone fast, but I have always had the self-belief and I want to improve every day, and that is the reason why I am here. Hopefully, I can keep my streak going upwards.”
Hojlund is going upwards. That’s for sure. He’s a young lad under immense pressure at one of the world’s biggest clubs and is holding his own. But a strong display and first Premier League goal in Sunday’s Manchester derby would see his streak go stratospheric, let alone upwards.
A good performance or even a vital contribution in such an important game would buy Hojlund a lot of leeway as he continues to get settled at Old Trafford. His first Manchester derby is the perfect time to truly show what he is capable of and ensure his aim of improvement continues.
It’s a chance he’s clearly excited for. “It would be a big experience, so I am looking forward to it,” he added. “It is always special to play a rival and if we win the game, we can get closer to the top, so it would be nice.”