Erik ten Hag is excited by Rasmus Højlund’s creation of a “different spirit” among his Manchester United players during the striker’s first week of full training, with the 20-year-old set to make his debut in Sunday’s trip to Arsenal.
The Dane was signed from New Atalanta for £72m but has yet to play for United due to a back problem. Now recovered, Ten Hag said Højlund will start at Arsenal and praised his immediate impact on the squad.
The balance in my squad is already very good and we noticed this week that a different spirit is coming up [due to him],” the manager said. “He gives that energy and also the players get energy from it. It is very good. He is a different character in our squad and that makes it really exciting.”
The scrutiny of Højlund will be intense but Ten Hag believes the young striker can handle high expectations.
“He is brave and that’s enough. He has belief and the rest will come,” said the United manager. “We scouted his skill and personality. Everywhere he has been so far, he’s made a big impact. You need time and it will come, I’m convinced of that. Give him time to settle in.
“No player can [perform] from the start. Of course, we expect a lot from Højlund but he needs time to settle into the team and the way we play. The rest will come – I’m very confident of that.
“So far it’s been a short time [for him] and he’s not even played games but he confirms the impression of when we scouted him. He’s very motivated to start in the team.
He can’t wait. Of course, I would have appreciated it if we had him from the first game. That wasn’t the case but now he is fit. We are happy he will definitely strengthen the squad and he will make a good impact on the team.”