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Gary Neville praises big-money Manchester United signing for his performances in his debut season

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Manchester United legend leaves Gary Neville in splits with England joke

Manchester United star Rasmus Hojlund had a fine first season at Old Trafford, feels Gary Neville

Former England international Gary Neville has launched a stern defence of Manchester United striker Rasmus Hojlund’s debut season in the Premier League.

Rasmus Hojlund, 21, signed for Manchester United in a £72million deal from Atalanta last summer, arriving initially at the club with a back problem. This delayed his involvement with the Red Devils and it took him until the 3-1 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in September to make his official debut for the club.

While Manchester United endured their worst-ever season in the Premier League, the Denmark international turned out to be one of the rare bright spots.

Rasmus Hojlund did take until the Boxing Day to score his first Premier League goal, scoring the winner in a riveting 3-2 home win over Aston Villa. Ultimately, he managed an impressive 16 goals across 43 appearances across all competitions for Erik ten Hag’s side, including five in six Champions League group-stage games.

Speaking as a pundit on ITV (h/t The Manchester Evening News) during coverage of the Euro 2024 competition, Gary Neville praised Hojlund’s first season at Old Trafford whilst slamming the club’s poor decade-long management and recruitment.

“I think he has done well,” Neville told ITV (h/t The Manchester Evening News).

“When you think about what Manchester United have done to players in the last 10 years, they’ve broken seasoned internationals who have signed for big money.

“The lack of stability in the club over the last 12 months, all the changes, particularly up at the top, they’ve got basically no centre-forwards other than him. They’ve got wide players who were out of form that weren’t giving him the type of service he needed.

“But he scored 16 goals in 35 starts and most of all, he stood up that kid. During the tough times in the season he was the one who I thought ‘what a personality he’s got.’ That’s all you need.”

Rasmus Hojlund has the qualities to become a top goalscorer for Manchester United. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

The ex-Manchester United skipper feels the club should have signed an experienced striker as well last summer which should’ve aided Hojlund’s development.

“I think he should have been supported more by having a more experienced striker alongside him but they couldn’t get one in and it was all left to him. I think he’s had a good first season and he’s got the potential to be something pretty good,” Neville added.

Neville has rightly praised Hojlund’s mental strength and character to overcome the adversity and deliver the goods for Man United last season when others struggled. The lack of pre-season and fitness issues led to a slow start to his career at Old Trafford, yet 16 goals in all competitions as the only pure striker in a dysfunctional side is a solid return.

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With time, age and experience, the Denmark international would certainly become a great goalscorer for our club. Let’s hope Hojlund stays injury-free and kicks on next season.