£72m Man Utd summer signing not as talented as Arsenal flop, says former coach

Joe Williams
Man Utd forward Rasmus Hojlund and Nicklas Bendtner
Rasmus Hojlund and Nicklas Bendtner have been compared.

Nicklas Bendtner was “a more naturally gifted footballer” than new Manchester United signing Rasmus Hojlund, according to a former coach.

The Red Devils signed Hojlund from Serie A side Atalanta for £72m in the summer transfer window with Erik ten Hag looking to permanently replace Cristiano Ronaldo, who left last November after a controversial interview with Piers Morgan.

Hojlund missed pre-season with a back injury and only made his debut for Man Utd in their fourth Premier League match of the season, a 3-1 loss to Arsenal before the international break.

The Denmark international made a promising 23-minute cameo against the Gunners and Man Utd fans will be hoping he will be fit enough to start in the near future.

Christian Mouroux, who worked with both Hojlund and former Arsenal striker Bendtner, thinks the latter had more natural talent but hints that the new Man Utd signing has a better “mentality”.

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

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“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.”

Horsholm-Usserod Idraetsklub boss Mouroux coached Hojlund at 12 years old reveals how the former Copenhagen forward stood out by his drive for self-improvement.

Mouroux added: “He played a year up and was always quite physically developed. An attacking midfielder, as I recall.

“But he wasn’t extremely fast, like he is now, and  he wasn’t extraordinarily gifted compared to those he was playing with.

“I do remember watching him running round the field in a Manchester United shirt. But I saw him more often in the stadium training on his own.

“Standing out came later for him, thanks to the individual training he did, constantly being down there running through cones, shooting, his father giving him balls again and again, and training with his brothers.”