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Rasmus Højlund’s former coach addresses key career moment ahead of Manchester United signing



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Credit: IMAGO / agefotostock

Rasmus Højlund has not had the breakout start to his career that many footballers usually experience.

Normally, and as is often seen at Manchester United, a young player will come through an academy, work hard for their debut, and if they possess the talent and mindset, they will become embedded in the first team.

Take Marcus Rashford for example – he waited for his chance under Louis van Gaal, took his opportunity, and is now thriving under Erik ten Hag.

Read More: Rasmus Højlund details Atalanta partnership he can replicate at Manchester United

For Rasmus Højlund, however, the story is a little different. After playing 32 times and scoring five goals for F.C. Copenhagen, he moved to Austrian side SK Sturm Graz to further his career – and just six months later, was signed for Italian side Atalanta.

Speaking about Højlund’s move to Stum Graz, Copenhagen boss Jess Thorup told Danish outlet Footy in January 2022: “I think it’s fantastic when we send some of our players on, that they become very successful.

“It is also part of the project and the culture to bring up our own youngsters, and when the time is right, they must either join the team or fly on to something bigger, like (Mohamed) Daramy, who unfortunately does not play that much in Ajax, but that it was also time for him to move on.”

Højlund deciding to leave the Danish club in search of new pastures has proved to be a key moment in his career so far. If he had instead stayed at the club, he may never have secured his £60 million move to Manchester United 18 months later.

“I just think it’s fantastic that we can hatch such talents who can also do well in a league like the Austrian one,” he continued. “Of course. It’s that trade-off; should you keep the young talents and see them flourish inside the Park, and when is the right time?

“You never know, but our goal is to create more bridges to the talents, and I really think we have done that in the last year. I have my hands full when it comes to young talents who are on the move.

“Just in relation to Højlund, perhaps the time was right there. So he also lacked playing time in relation to breaking through, and now he has found a place where he can redeem the potential he certainly has.”

Højlund is set to be announced as the new United striker on Saturday afternoon, with the player due to walk out at Old Trafford ahead of the pre-season tie against French club Lens.