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Rasmus Hojlund to Manchester United: Erling Haaland comparisons, rock-star perspective and changing into the overall bundle | Soccer Information

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It’s simple to imagine that comparisons with Erling Haaland are neither warranted nor wished however Rasmus Hojlund is likely to be the exception. Denmark’s rock-star striker, labelled the overall bundle, doesn’t draw back from ideas of a resemblance.

“I can see the similarities. He’s quick. I’m additionally quick. He’s left-footed. I’m additionally left-footed. He’s sturdy and I’m sturdy too.” Hojlund may need added that they each have a simple confidence. It may see him be part of Haaland in Manchester subsequent season.

Curiosity from Manchester United underlines the speedy rise of a precocious expertise who had but to attain his first league aim when he left Copenhagen for Sturm Graz in January of final 12 months. He was there simply seven months earlier than being bought on to Atalanta.

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Such was his impression in Austria that the membership acquired a charge of €17m (£14.56m) – round ten instances what they’d paid. His subsequent success in Serie A method Atalanta can demand way more too. However what did Sturm Graz see within the man now touted as United’s subsequent celebrity?

For sporting director Andreas Schicker, Hojlund is the template. “The concept right here is to have success on the pitch with a staff constructed round a couple of extra skilled leaders who’re surrounded by younger, proficient gamers who we need to develop,” he tells Sky Sports activities.

“We get them prepared for the subsequent step, have success and make a revenue. Rasmus is an excellent instance of it working completely. He got here, he excelled, he helped us to attain our objectives, made a reputation for himself and moved to an even bigger membership in an even bigger league.

“One in every of our strengths is that once we scout a participant, we’ve got a very clear and outlined profile for each place. For a striker, we seek for someone with a whole lot of velocity and depth of their recreation. We scouted Rasmus actually early and noticed he was an ideal match.

“One other essential half was that we checked on his character early within the course of, having video calls with him and his household. His psychological power was extraordinarily spectacular, particularly for a participant of that age – he was solely 18 years {old} again then.”

The person tasked with integrating him into the staff, Sturm Graz head coach Christian Ilzer, echoes these sentiments about fashion. When Schicker talks of ‘depth’ he’s referring to these line-breaking runs in behind the defence that Hojlund makes time and time once more.

“We attempt to deliver the strikers into the sport as rapidly as potential and to be as vertical as potential to harm the opponents – that wants a whole lot of sprints and a whole lot of fast choices from our strikers, and I feel these are massive strengths of Rasmus,” Ilzer tells Sky Sports activities.

“I feel it was key that our philosophy and magnificence fitted his skillset completely so he got here into an excellent atmosphere. Ras was an amazing addition to our staff together with his skills. It was his velocity, his basic physique and his willingness to work laborious in opposition to the ball.”

Atalanta striker Rasmus Hojlund's heatmap and passing sonar

Ilzer was equally impressed together with his character, describing him as very open, pleasant and humorous – however it was greater than that. This was an adolescent transferring overseas for the primary time however from that first assembly throughout a coaching camp in Slovenia his confidence was clear.

“We had a particularly shut have a look at Rasmus earlier than we signed him, wanting past the participant, so I already had a transparent imaginative and prescient of him as an individual. However when he arrived in Catez, he nonetheless shocked me in a Positive approach in each side when it comes to him as an individual.

“He ‘arrived’ within the staff extraordinarily rapidly due to his extrovert character. There was a second in opposition to Speedy Wien – this was solely his second recreation with us – when he scored and celebrated his aim enthusiastically proper in entrance of the Speedy supporters.

“I attempted to make him perceive that this was not the fitting approach. However I additionally quickly understood that he wants this massive stage. He wants this ‘further’. Enjoying for and in opposition to the followers isn’t hindering him however pushing him to search out that further 5 per cent in his recreation.

“He has this nice perspective and aura round him. A full stadium isn’t one thing that intimidates him, it pushes him. It doesn’t matter whether it is at dwelling or within the opposition stadium. There’s something inside him to be at ‘one’ with the followers and to excite them.

“It’s just like the pitch is a live performance stage and he’s a rock star, there to excite the group. He feels naturally snug on that stage. It’s why he was an on the spot fan-favourite in his brief time right here and additionally it is why he’s made for the most important levels in soccer.”

Atalanta striker Rasmus Hojlund's shot map

In addition to that aim in opposition to Speedy, there have been two extra in a win over Purple Bull Salzburg final August, a efficiency that alerted golf equipment across the continent. Schicker quickly appreciated that the membership’s long-term imaginative and prescient for Hojlund was effectively forward of schedule.

“All people noticed that he was destined for larger issues,” he says. “We helped to refine his profile as a participant and the subsequent step was inconceivable to carry off when he began so effectively final summer season. With Atalanta, I feel he discovered a superb membership for that subsequent step.”

His impression in Italy was equally swift. Skilled coach Gian Piero Gasperini admitted that whereas he had anticipated Hojlund’s operating means, the participant’s resilience, his willingness to proceed making these penetrating runs, got here as a shock even to him.

Rasmus Hojlund celebrates his hat-trick
Rasmus Hojlund celebrates his hat-trick for Denmark in opposition to Finland in March

There was a aim in his first Serie A begin earlier than Hojlund got here into his personal after the World Cup, scoring in 4 consecutive appearances. 5 objectives in two video games for Denmark through the March worldwide break additional underlined his ever-improving recreation.

On the finish of the season, he ranked among the many high 10 gamers in Serie A for objectives scored from open play, photographs on track and touches contained in the opposition penalty field per 90 minutes. Such kind appears prone to fast-track him onto the subsequent step at simply 20.

Atalanta striker Rasmus Hojlund

The attraction for United is clear. It isn’t simply that he fills a void up entrance and never simply that he’s a United supporter. Worldwide team-mate Philip Billing has described him as a United participant. He’s born for the most important stage and has the character to steal it.

“I’m assured in his skills and that he has an amazing future forward of him on the highest degree in Europe,” provides Schicker. “His abilities, with all his velocity, energy and high quality in entrance of aim, in addition to his mindset and character, make him the overall bundle as a striker.”

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