Hojlund's former manager opens up on what to expect from "cocky" Man Utd new boy

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Hojlund
Hojlund's former manager opens up on what to expect from "cocky" Man Utd new boy

Sturm Graz manager Christian Ilzer has admitted that Rasmus Hojlund is "self-confident" and "cocky" in a glowing review of the forward as he closes in on a move to Manchester United.

Hojlund landed at Manchester Airport on Tuesday afternoon ahead of undergoing a medical. The 20-year-old is expected to sign a five-year deal with an option of a further 12 months at Old Trafford, with the Red Devils set to pay Atalanta an initial £64million plus £8m in performance-based add-ons.

Graz manager Ilzer worked with Hojlund during the forward's time at the Austrian club and he soon realised that the ex-Copenhagen man was in a different class compared to the rest of those in the dressing room.

"Hojlund has always been a self-confident boy," Ilzer said. "He even seems cocky if you don’t know him. He has flair, speed and an above-average footballing intelligence."

Hojlund started his career at HUI and Brondby before moving to fellow Danish outfit Copenhagen in 2020. He made his professional debut at the age of 17 in October 2020. During his first full season in professional football, Hojlund struck five times in 11 Europa Conference League matches.

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It was that form that earned Hojlund a move to Graz in January 2022 for £1.6m. He impressed during his time in Austria, scoring 12 goals in 21 matches in all competitions as he secured yet another quick-fire move, this time to Atalanta for £14.6m despite interest from Newcastle.

Hojlund's former manager opens up on what to expect from "cocky" Man Utd new boyRasmus Hojlund scored 10 times in 34 matches for Atalanta last season (Getty Images)

A year on, Hojlund is on his way to United. Luke Shaw admitted on Monday that the Red Devils are desperate to sign a new striker this summer. "We've already signed some very good players and hopefully there's more additions to come to strengthen the squad," the left-back said.

"I don't really want to comment too much on that [Hojlund deal]. I think obviously he's not our player yet, so I won't say too much. Of course, we've got [Anthony] Martial, [Marcus] Rashford at the moment and [Jadon] Sancho, who can play there. But an out-and-out striker is what we need and we're desperate for one. I'm very sure that the club know that, the manager knows that and us players would love one to come, too."

With Hojlund set to complete his move later this week, he could make his United debut in a friendly against Lens on Saturday and will be available for the start of the competitive season - just as Ten Hag wanted. The Red Devils face Wolves at Old Trafford in their opening Premier League encounter on August 14.

Kieran King

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