Manchester United great Peter Schmeichel has lavished praise on centre-forward Rasmus Hojlund amid his fantastic form for the Red Devils.
Man Utd raised eyebrows in the summer when they decided to make rising star Hojlund their new focal point in attack, rather than signing an experienced striker. The 21-year-old did not come cheap either, as Man Utd paid Atalanta an initial £64million to sign him. The deal could rise to £72m depending on bonus clauses.
It took Hojlund time to adapt to the Premier League, as he did not manage to score in his first 14 appearances in the competition. Although, Man Utd fans knew he would eventually come good as he netted five goals in six Champions League group stage matches, despite the team struggling in Europe.
The Dane has now converted that form into the Prem, with his record standing at five goals and two assists in his last five league appearances. That includes the opener during the 2-1 away victory over Aston Villa on Sunday, as he calmly slotted into the bottom corner after Harry Maguire won the first header from a corner.
Erik ten Hag pushed hard for Man Utd to sign Hojlund, despite the calls to bring in a proven Prem attacker like Ivan Toney, and the manager’s show of faith is paying dividends.
Now, Schmeichel – who won a host of trophies during an eight-year spell at Old Trafford – has lauded Hojlund. He called the Copenhagen-born ace ‘the real deal’ and praised the player for his quick ascent to the top.
“It was only two-and-a-half years ago that he was in the Copenhagen squad and they signed another striker and they told him to go back to the Under 19s,” Schmeichel said on talkSPORT.
“Sturm Graz came in for him and said ‘we’ve got to give you first team football’ he took it and the first seven months there, nine months at Atalanta after and now he’s at Manchester United.
Man Utd ace has ‘got everything in his locker’
“It’s gone really, really quick for him, but at no point have I been in any doubt that this lad is the real deal, he’s got everything in his locker, he poaches goals, his movement…
“I’ve seen this for a year now since he broke into the Danish team. You know when you see something which is very, very special that doesn’t come along very often? That’s what I’ve seen in him.”
Former Newcastle United and Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew was appearing alongside Schmeichel on the radio station. He added: “Everyone in the game now knows that this lad is the real deal.
“It’s just my opinion that it’s still too soon for him really to take that role as Man United’s number, but he’s got his goals and hopefully he can kick on.”