03 May 2024

Erik ten Hag says Man Utd ‘couldn’t get’ Harry Kane but backs Rasmus Hojlund

03 May 2024

Erik ten Hag wanted to sign Harry Kane but the Manchester United boss is convinced that Rasmus Hojlund will deliver on his potential.

Ten Hag has revealed that Kane was a target for the Premier League club before the England captain decided to join Bayern Munich last summer.

Instead, 21-year-old Denmark international Hojlund was recruited for £72 million from Atalanta and has so far scored 14 times in his debut campaign for the club, with eight of those goals in the Premier League.

“We have to win every game,” ten Hang told an interview with Gary Neville on Sky Sports.

“There’s an expectation around every game from us so you can only fulfil that expectation when you have those outstanding players.

“But in the last decade and in this period, we couldn’t always get the players we wanted.

“Then you have to build and you have to accept that you get talent in instead of players who have already proved it in the past. We have had some choices made with talents like Rasmus Hojlund.

“I can see a striker (Harry Kane) who already proved it, who we want to sign and we couldn’t get him. And then we went to Rasmus because he’s a talent.

“With Harry Kane you know you get 30 goals. I think Rasmus will get there but he needs time.

“It’s not fair to assess him the same as Harry Kane. I would never compare two players because they are very different.

“But with Rasmus Hojlund, we get the highest potential in the striker position last summer.

“We are very happy with him, but he also needs time to adapt. We are very pleased he has showed his capacity to score goals.”

The decision to focus on potential has been compounded by an eye-watering injury list that has helped to throw United off course after a positive first season under Ten Hag.

The Red Devils are through to the FA Cup final but being knocked out of Europe before Christmas and missing out on next year’s Champions League has led pressure to mount on the manager.

However, Ten Hag stressed “we need time” as he repeated his belief that they are on the right track, saying patience is needed as young talents progress and players return to fitness.

“I think that’s the truth,” Ten Hag said. “And then you have to accept that the process is going slower.

“You can’t then expect that you will straight compete for titles in Champions League and in Premier League.”

Ten Hag’s future remains a hot topic as a disappointing season comes to an end at the same time ambitious Ineos look to turn the club around, having taken control of football operations earlier this year.

Jason Wilcox arrived as technical director a fortnight ago as part of widespread changes and the Dutchman says there is no time to waste on a rebuild he clearly wants to be part of.

Asked how the meetings have been with Wilcox over the style and how the club moves forward, he said: “The initial meetings are good, and of course with Ineos several meetings from January on.

“Jason first came in last week and now we have to take things quickly because the summer is coming.

“It’s a very important period coming when you have another window and, of course, we want to make the next step into our squad, and also to make plans and to create an environment that, let’s say, avoids this year’s problems in injuries.”

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