Neville claims Man Utd starlet is ‘Haaland in the making’; Ten Hag will ‘fancy hunting down’ Spurs, Villa

Joe Williams
Man Utd striker Rasmus Hojlund and Erling Haaland
Rasmus Hojlund has been likened to Erling Haaland.

Gary Neville has likened Man Utd striker Rasmus Hojlund to Man City superstar Erling Haaland after his recent goal-scoring run.

The Denmark international struggled early on in the season for goals as the Red Devils made a slow start to their second campaign under Erik ten Hag.

Hojlund, who scored five Champions League goals before Ten Hag’s men exited the competition in the group stage, had to wait until Boxing Day against Aston Villa to score his first Premier League goal as Man Utd won 3-2.

But the £72m summer signing has been in brilliant goal-scoring form since then scoring eight goals in his last eight matches in all competitions for Man Utd.

Haaland has continued his brilliant form for Man City from last season, despite missing a number of chances in their 1-1 draw against Chelsea over the weekend, and Neville reckons Hojlund is Haaland “in the making”.

Neville said on Sky Sports’ The Gary Neville Podcast: “Hojlund looked like a Haaland in the making – that power, that strength and aggression in his running. I’ve always like that about a Manchester United centre-forward.”

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Hojlund was on the scoresheet twice as Man Utd beat Luton Town 2-1 at Kenilworth Road on Sunday and Neville was pleased to see the Red Devils pick up all three points.

Neville added:”The second half was better than the first, it was a considered performance, more measured. Evans and Varane looked composed and the midfield took control of the game. They had four big chances, well done to Thomas Kaminski – he did really well.

“But they couldn’t finish Luton off. United had to defend their box well as Luton had five corners in the last few minutes, Evans cleared three of them. At a ground where it’s back to the olden days, it felt like an FA Cup tie – and it was a test of United’s mettle to defend set-pieces and cope with it. They did that in the second half.”

Man Utd are currently on a run of five wins on the bounce in all competitions, while Ten Hag’s side are also unbeaten in seven matches.

Neville continued: “You can feel Ten Hag is more confident in his team and that they’re in a better place. He’ll fancy hunting down Tottenham and Villa for the top four. They’ll be feeling the pressure.

“I’m not saying Man Utd will get there but there is a bit between their teeth.”

Speaking after the match, Ten Hag said: “We are back in the race and are building momentum. We need to build the pressure on them. Every game is a final to get close.

“It could’ve been an easy game after 10 minutes but we made it a difficult game as we didn’t take the chances. We had big chances with (Alejandro) Garnacho and (Marcus) Rashford and then we dropped too deep. We allowed them back in the game.

“Maybe it was too easy in the first 10 minutes – you see with some players they go a little bit less, you can’t afford to do that against a side like Luton who are on an upward trend. You have to be 100 per cent focused and that’s what we lost after 10 minutes.”