Manchester United striker Rasmus Hojlund's back injury could reportedly be worse than initially feared.
According to the Daily Mail, the Red Devils picked up a stress response in Hojlund's back from an MRI scan conducted during his medical. The club maintain that the player needs rest to overcome the fitness issue.
Hojlund was unveiled at Old Trafford on August 6 before Manchester United's 3-1 friendly win against RC Lens. He's unlikely to be fit for the league opener against Wolverhampton Wanderers on August 14, but there's optimism that he would be fit within a couple of weeks.
However, the aforementioned report claims that such injuries require a lengthy lay-off period with careful management to avoid aggravating the issue. It could mean that Hojlund will not be able to play two games in a week for quite some time to avoid a stress fracture.
Stress response hotspots, the report adds, are often spotted in players who have had a heavy workload at a young age. Hojlund, 20, made his senior debut for Copenhagen when he was 17.
Twenty-seven of his 32 senior appearances for the Danish club came in the 2021-22 season, where he scored five times. He moved to Atalanta in 2022 and went on to feature in 34 games for La Dea across competitions, registering ten goals and four assists.
Manchester United will hope that their £72 million striker is fit and firing as soon as possible. However, it could take several weeks before the Denmark international is played as a regular No. 9 by manager Erik ten Hag.
Rasmus Hojlund gives Manchester United fans an idea about his versatility up front
Rasmus Hojlund has said that he could play different roles in Manchester United's attack this season.
The former Atalanta striker said that he played as a wide striker on many occasions under Gian Piero Gasperini. However, with Denmark, where he has six goals in as many senior appearances, he plays as a target man.
Hojlund told United's website:
"In Atalanta, we played a lot off the sides as well. As a wide striker, you would say (it’s about) build-up play, hold-up play but, when I'm with the national team, I'm more of the target nine, an inside-the-box striker.
"So it's definitely two different kind of roles that I've had before, so I hope that I can fit into the system. I think I can, that's why I've decided to come here, so I just have to hear what the boss is saying."
Hojlund could play as an out-and-out No. 9 under Ten Hag, as Marcus Rashford has made the left flank his own.