Almost a month after arriving at United in a 72million deal, Hojlund finally got to make an impression on the pitch and caused Arsenal plenty of problems in 23 minutes off the bench. The 20-year-old had been itching to get on the grass after a stress fracture in his back was flagged during medical tests.
And Erik ten Hag may have been equally desperate to get him playing too, with the Dutchman still looking for the goals that were so badly lacking last season. In his side&aposs first three games against Wolves, Tottenham and Nottingham Forest, none of the attacking unit found the net.
However, the nature of the injury could been due to playing too much in the first place. And so Ten Hag and United had to urge caution with bringing Hojlund back too soon and exacerbating the issue further down the line.
“We are not in a rush,” Ten Hag said of Hojlund before the opening game of the season against Wolves. “We know without him we have also a strong team and the position is covered so we don&apost rush in this.
“It is about that he is in the right level, the first fitness level and then we have to integrate him, training and bring him in for the games so we take our time. It is not about winning in this moment, it is about winning in the long term.”
At first glance, Hojlund&aposs inclusion in the Danish national team for the September international break was a concern. At the time of announcement, he had yet to feature for his new side at all and was now set to head away for the first minor break of the campaign.
But when speaking of his decision to include the striker, Denmark head coach Kasper Hjulmand explained that he had been at Carrington and was in constant dialogue with United. Those conversations went well enough for Hojlund to travel, and Hjulmand has stuck to his word.
Denmark&aposs first game of the break saw them cruise past San Marino with a 4-0 win on Thursday evening. Hojlund started that game on the bench, coming on for the final half-hour – a little more than his debut for United. And when they face Finland on Sunday, the young striker will continue his progress but do so with caution.
“Hojlund is probably not ready [to play 90 minutes against Finland],” Hjulmand told Bold.dk on Friday. “So the question is whether we should use him from the start or during the game.
“Hojlund hasn&apost had a full pre-season, and he only trained for a week before he got a start against Arsenal. So it is not expected that he can play 90 minutes at full steam, and therefore there are considerations about that.”