Paul Merson was impressed with Manchester United striker Rasmus Hojlund’s debut against Arsenal, but has urged caution over the £72million signing.
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Hojlund made his long-awaited debut at the Emirates on Sunday, coming off the bench after 67 minutes to replace Anthony Martial.
While he was unable to prevent a 3-1 defeat for Erik ten Hag’s side, the Denmark international impressed supporters and pundits with an energetic performance – with his manager adamant he should have been awarded a penalty.
The 20-year-old also helped set up Alejandro Garnacho’s late goal that could have won the game only for it to be ruled out for offside.
Following Sunday’s defeat with problems mounting at Old Trafford, Merson believes United are a ‘million miles off’ champions Manchester City, taking aim at their decision to sign Sergio Reguilon on loan from Tottenham on deadline day.
And while admitting Hojlund ‘looked good’ against Arsenal, he recalled Mykhailo Mudryk’s similarly bright debut for Chelsea against Liverpool following his £88.5m move to Stamford Bridge in January. Since then, the 22-year-old has struggled to make much of an impression in west London.
Merson wrote for Sky Sports: ‘The Sir Alex Ferguson days are long gone. They’re as far away from winning the league as you’ll ever see.
‘I know everyone’s a long way off Manchester City but they’re a million miles off.
‘You forget they’re one of the biggest teams in the world. Man Utd can’t even stump up £7m for Marc Cucurella. They’re taking a player [Sergio Reguilon] that can’t even play for Tottenham.
‘They’ve got the Jadon Sancho thing now as well. Just keep it in-house.
‘Rasmus Hojlund looked good – a right handful. But that was for 20 minutes. I saw Mykhailo Mudryk for 20 minutes at Liverpool in January and I haven’t seen him since.’
Hojlund is currently on international duty with Denmark ahead of European Championship qualifiers against San Marino and Finland.
The striker will hope to make his full United debut at home to Brighton on Saturday 16 September.
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