Published On: Fri, Sep 15th, 2023
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Man Utd told they have another Nicklas Bendtner who Ten Hag can unleash | Football | Sport

Manchester United have seen their new striker Rasmus Hojlund compared to ex-Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner by his former coach, ahead of what could be his full debut this weekend. The £72million signing came off the bench at the Emirates before the international break, but could be handed his first start on Saturday against Brighton after fully recovering from injury.

Christian Mouroux, who coached Hojlund from the age of 12 with Denmark minnows Horsholm-Usserod Idraetsklub, has lifted a lid on the young striker’s mentality as he prepared for what could be his first start for United under Erik ten Hag – having shrugged off a back injury that delayed his participation after the blockbuster summer transfer.

Mouroux took the opportunity to compare Hojlund to Bendtner, who was also a Denmark international and spent 10 years at Arsenal before spells at Wolfsburg, Nottingham Forest and back in Danish football. However, while Bendtner had shown glimpses of promise and scored over 100 career goals, he had a reputation for enjoying the nightlife and showing off his Paddy Power boxers during a Euro 2012 match.

“A good comparison can be made to the other rising superstar we had in Nicklas Bendtner,” Mouroux told The Sun when asked about Hojlund. “They are both number nines, both very physical and have this twinkle in the eye. They are humorous, outgoing and cheeky.

“Bendtner was probably a more naturally-gifted footballer but that perhaps made him take things more lightly and get influenced by everything that affects you from the outside when you become a superstar. Rasmus is completely different.

“Although I’m sure he will probably buy a bigger car and has a nice watch, it will not blow out of proportion. He has the right mentality for it. He is so disciplined. He is very aware of what hard work does for you and it’s hard work that has brought him to where he is today.”

United supporters may be wary of Bendtner being described as a more gifted footballer than Hojlund, though they will have been impressed with his camo debut in the 3-1 defeat away to Arsenal before the international break.

The 20-year-old gave Gunners’ centre-back Gabriel a tough time and proved up to the task with the physicality in the Premier League, though he is expected to be handed a bigger role against Brighton on Saturday.

The Red Devils’ forward options have been decimated as Jadon Sancho and Antony are both expected to miss the match with Roberto De Zerbi’s side, while Hojlund could start in place of Anthony Martial, who he was brought on for at the Emirates after another lacklustre performance from the French forward.

Bendtner was forced to wait for his first Premier League goal at Arsenal, coming four months after his debut, but Hojlund will be hoping that he can get off the mark early against Brighton.

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