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Manchester United cannot afford brotherly love from Hojlund in Copenhagen reunion

Manchester United have no time for sentimentality from Rasmus Hojlund as he faces his younger twin brothers and former club on Tuesday when FC Copenhagen visit Old Trafford.

The Red Devils desperately need a win to keep their Champions League campaign alive on what is sure to be an emotional evening in the wake of Bobby Charlton’s death.

Arguably the club’s greatest ever player, Charlton passed away at the age of 86 on Saturday, with tributes planned to the man who scored 249 goals in 758 games for United.

Erik ten Hag’s men need the highly-charged atmosphere to inspire them after losing their first two games of a Champions League group stage for the first time in the club’s history.

Hojlund has been the one beacon of hope from defeats by Bayern Munich and Galatasaray as the Dane has scored three times in his first two Champions League appearances.

A £64 million ($78 million) move to United from Atalanta in August capped a meteoric rise for the 20-year-old, who Copenhagen sold for just £1.7 million to Sturm Graz in January last year.

His father criticised the lack of game time he was afforded by the Danish champions before leaving his homeland.

“He wasn’t really given a chance,” Anders Hojlund, himself a former professional player, told Danish media outlet Frihedsbrevet.

“He only spent six months in the first team… where he mainly had 10, 12 or 15 minutes where he was asked to run everywhere.”

‘Unique’ talent

But there are still two members of the Hojlund family at Copenhagen as 18-year-old twins Emil and Oscar look to follow in their big brother’s footsteps.

Midfielder Oscar is expected to be included in the visitors’ squad at Old Trafford having already made his bow in the Champions League against Galatasaray.

Emil is more akin to his older sibling as a physical forward, but might have to wait for his opportunity to face Rasmus after featuring more regularly for the under-19s.

Despite arriving in Manchester as a precocious talent with “still a lot to learn” in his own words, United are reliant on Hojlund to help turn a troubled season around.

Only holding midfielder Casemiro has scored more than Hojlund’s three goals this season as the rest of Ten Hag’s forward line has misfired.

Marcus Rashford has netted just once and looks a shadow of the player that scored 30 times last season, putting more pressure on his new teammate.

Hojlund is also yet to score a Premier League goal, but has shown flashes of the combination of strength and speed that lured United into splashing out on him rather than target a move for Harry Kane as their new number nine.

“What I see in Rasmus is completely unique,” said Peter Moller, head of the Danish Football Federation.

“He has the dynamism and carefreeness of youth, he believes in himself.

“At the same time, he is humble, hard-working and a pleasant boy to be around.”

Denmark have already seen his potential at international level with seven goals in eight Euro 2024 qualifiers.

United need him to be just as deadly against Danish opposition if an embarrassing early exit from the Champions League is to be avoided.

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