The last time Denmark won a tournament, they had not qualified for it in the first place. After the 1992 European Cup victory, international success has eluded them. However, the Danes are experiencing a resurgence with the emergence of a mini-golden generation. Their semi-finals run to Euro 2020 is a sign of this. There are several promising youngsters in the country, and Rasmus Hojlund is one of them.
The 19-year-old came from the youth system of Copenhagen to the senior side and was a part of a young talented Copenhagen squad that included Isak Bergmann Johannesson and Roony Bardghji. Hojlund, with his impressive spell at Sturm Graz, has also thrown up his name for being included in the World Cup squad.
While he struggled for game time and form at Copenhagen, his transfer to SK Sturm Graz did wonders for him. He was one of the main reasons behind Sturm Graz’s resurgence. And now he has taken his talents to Lombardy, representing the Italian side Atalanta BC. The spell is off to a good start as Atalanta top the Serie A table while Hojlund is already off the mark.
So, how good is Rasmus Hojlund?
Rasmus Hojlund potential
Rasmus Winther Højlund is considered one of the top young talents in Denmark. After starting his youth career, Boldklubben af 1893, Hojlund spent time at Brondby and Holbæk before arriving in Copenhagen.
At Copenhagen, he quickly established himself among the youth ranks. In the 2019-20 under-19 season, he would be among the most lethal finishers in the league. His impressive goal-scoring form caught the attention of newly appointed manager Jess Thorup who promoted him to the senior side.
However, the promotion came too soon for Hojlund, who failed to adapt himself to the Danish top flight. He was unable to score a single goal in the 2020-21 season. Hojlund’s struggles were not physical, as he performed brilliantly. It was more a lack of the right mentality. He would make a brilliant run and, at the very end, would fluff his lines to shoot the ball over the bar.
Danish top talent Rasmus Højlund has just signed the contract as new Atalanta striker on permanent deal from Sturm Graz. He’s in Italy to be unveiled soon. 🇩🇰🤝 #transfers
Atalanta will pay €17m for Højlund. pic.twitter.com/5gfJzXDz8M
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 26, 2022
His struggles continued the following season till January 2022. While he scored two goals in the Conference League, his form was far from perfect. By then, Hojlund was sure he needed a change of scenery to regain his form. And thus, the teenager packed his bags to move to the hills of Styria.
And his form took an almost 90-degree turn as soon as he set foot at Stadion Graz-Liebenau. He scored a brace on his debut against WSG Tirol and would also score in the next game. Both these games helped Sturm Graz come from behind These two points came in handy when Sturm Graz pipped Wolfsberg to the second spot in the league.
Hojlund also started the new season brilliantly, scoring three goals and providing two assists in five matches. He was also the only goal scorer in Sturm Graz’s Champions League qualification match against Dynamo Kyiv. Then Atalanta came calling.
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Rasmus Hojlund stats
In his under-19 season with Copenhagen, Hojlund scored 15 goals in 22 matches, the fourth-highest in the league. While his spell in the Copenhagen senior side was not great, he picked up form at Sturm Graz.
His first season, or half-season, yielded six goals and one assist. He was also one of the most accurate finishers, with more than 50 per cent shot accuracy. He also played 0.9 key passes per 90 minutes, While his passing was a little lacklustre with only 66 per cent accuracy.
Marin Ljubičić (20) 🆚 Rasmus Höjlund (19) stats this season.
They don't play for RB Salzburg in Austria but are delivering oustanding results. 👏 pic.twitter.com/r63UndgkKh
— Pro Future Stars (@ProFutureStars1) August 16, 2022
His 1.92-metre frame also helps him in aerial duels, where he wins 41 per cent of them. He has also started the current season in style and, with his current form, could blow all his previous records out of water.
Rasmus Hojlund scout report
It is no doubt that Hojlund is an impressive talent when it comes to scoring goals. However, he is also a hard-working forward who drops into the midfield to help the team. His heatmap from SofaScore for the 2021-22 season shows he centred all around the attacking third, especially on the left side.
He is also a striker who is good at scoring various types of goals. Hojlund is also a master of making late runs into the box. However, his most impressive attacking skill is his intelligent movement. His vision helps him in finding gaps in the defence. His high accuracy in shooting is due to his movement, so he gets lots of goal-scoring opportunities in high-scoring areas.
He is also involved in build-up play, as is evident by his heat map. However, he is far from a finished product. His low passing accuracy, accurate passes, and through balls prove that. And now, he will face his sternest test in playing for Atalanta, a club with multiple top four finishes in Serie A and a Champions League quarter-final appearance in recent years.
But Hojlund has shown before that a change in scenery usually elevates his performances, and the fans at Gewiss Stadium will be hoping that the trend continues.
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Rasmus Hojlund at Atalanta
Rasmus Hojlund’s incredible resurgence at Sturm Graz attracted the interest of several top European clubs. However, after finishing third in the 2020-21 season, the Italians endured a massive downfall as they finished eight last season. While the club have kept faith in long-time manager Gian Piero Gasperini, the club needed new signings.
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Atalanta sold nine players and brought six, which signalled the start of a new era. A fee of €17 million was paid to acquire his services which showed the club’s trust in him. Gasperini is in many ways a “Striker whisperer”. The likes of Josip Ilicic, Luis Muriel and Duvan Zapata enjoyed the best seasons of the career under the manager. “Begin as you mean to go on”, as is often said. Hojlund has made an immediate impact in Bergamo with a goal in his second appearance. However, it will definitely not be as rosy throughout the season. Ups and downs are bound to appear as the 19-year-old finds his feet at the elite level.
But for now, Bergamo has a dazzling Dane in their ranks, and they must ensure this raw talent becomes a highly polished diamond.