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Rasmus Hojlund’s Manchester United debut was met with mass excitement among supporters and viewers as he took to the pitch against Arsenal on Sunday. But Erik ten Hag’s £72million striker has already failed to fly out of the gates like Anthony Martial, who enjoyed one of the more memorable debuts in United history.
Hojlund didn’t disgrace himself at the Emirates Stadium after taking to the pitch with the score finely poised at 1-1 and the game on a knife edge.
The 20-year-old showcased his impressive physicality, pace and link-up capabilities as United upped the pressure in the final 30 minutes.
And had Alejandro Garnacho not been inches offside before slotting home in the 88th minute, he would’ve played a significant role in the likely winning goal in a significant triumph.
Instead, VAR chalked off Garnacho’s strike before goals from Declan Rice and Gabriel Jesus at the death in stoppage time broke United hearts.
Despite the disappointing result in north London, Hojlund’s start to life at United has been met with positivity and optimism.
But the reaction is nothing compared to the buzz that swirled after Martial marked his arrival in sensational fashion eight years ago.
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In September 2015, Martial had just arrived in England with the weight of the world on his shoulders as the Golden Boy award winner.
United splashed £36m to lure him from AS Monaco aged 19, a then-world record fee for a teenage footballer.
Shortly after his arrival, one of the biggest fixtures on the football calendar was on the horizon – Liverpool at Old Trafford.
Martial started the clash on the bench, with Louis van Gaal preferring Marouane Fellaini, of all players, as his striker.
Daley Blind fired United ahead in the second half before Ander Herrera doubled the hosts’ lead on 70 minutes, on either side of Martial taking to the pitch for his debut.
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But 14 minutes later, Christian Benteke scored a spectacular scissor kick to make for a nervy end to proceedings as the visitors ramped up the pressure.
And then it happened. Moments after kick-off, a fearless Martial received the ball on the left before dancing past Nathaniel Clyne and Martin Skrtel and curling an effort past Simon Mignolet to make it 3-1.
The Stretford End erupted before the Frenchman, who celebrated to the tune of one of Martin Tyler’s most famous pieces of commentary.
‘Welcome to Manchester United, Anthony Martial’.
Almost a decade on, Martial never lived up to his seismic potential in M16. But he remains at United, now as competition for Hojlund, the club’s latest promising young forward hungry to make an early impact.
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