Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag badly needed some good news after a poor start to the new Premier League season on the pitch and ongoing controversy off it.

And it’s arrived in the shape of £72 million new boy Rasmus Hojlund.

After the chastening 3-1 defeat at Arsenal at least Manchester United’s Dutch coach was handed some hope and optimism during the international break.

How has Hojlund surprised Erik ten Hag?

For Hojlund’s 32-minute cameo at The Emirates after coming on as a second half substitute for Anthony Martial has given the mood around Old Trafford a much-needed boost.

Hojlund’s Emirates display after replacing Martial was a ray of sunshine as the 20-year-old Dane showed glimpses of why ten Hag was so keen to snap up the Atalanta striker.

Fast, powerful and aggressive Hojlund revealed a committed work ethic that instantly delighted United fans.

And many believe, if it wasn’t already finished, Hojlund killed Martial’s United career in that half hour in North London.

Martial started his United career in 2015 with an explosive debut goal after coming on as a substitute against Liverpool to ensure a 3-1 win.

That was probably as good as it ever got for Martial who has seen his popularity slip significantly on the back of injuries, poor form and a perceived lack of effort.

Unlike Frenchman Martial, Hojlund didn’t deliver a statement goal against Arsenal and ended up tasting defeat on his debut.

But in those 32 minutes he won a legion of admirers.

And they hope he’s the missing part of the puzzle in an attack that was carried single-handedly by Marcus Rashford and his 30 goals in all competitions for United last season.

United insiders say Hojlund’s energy and focus at the club’s Carrington AON Training complex are exactly what the team has lacked.

And even after a short-time working with Hojlund, ten Hag has been surprised by the youngster's willingness to listen and learn, his application and enthusiasm.

And that’s been a breath of fresh air for the United boss with one or two current members of his squad less inclined to fully commit to the cause.

What will Man Utd do with Jadon Sancho next?

Erik ten Hag was inclined to give Jadon Sancho one more chance to carve a regular starting place at United this season.

Following difficulties last season when personal issues led to the former Borussia Dortmund winger sent to Holland to train with a specialist coach, the hope was for Sancho to start his Bundesliga form.

But it seems relations between Sancho and ten Hag have reached a new low - with the United boss concerned that matters between the pair don’t infiltrate the dressing room.

And word from Old Trafford suggests United are open to the star leaving if the right offer is tabled - potentially to Saudi Arabia next year.

One of ten Hag’s main objectives when he arrived at Old Trafford just over a year ago was to repair a fractured dressing room that was not pulling together as one unit.

Ten Hag was successful in rebuilding the group into a more collective force allowing United to finish fourth and grab a Champions League place this season.

And many of his signings have been players he’s previously worked with or watched closely. Knowing their personality is a big plus for ten Hag when he’s researching signings.

Significantly, Sancho didn’t fall into that category prompting the question: would ten Hag have signed the Dortmund star?

Those close to the United boss say there will only ever be one winner if there’s a serious clash between ten Hag and a player. Watch out Sancho.

Pellistri now in line to replace Jadon Sancho

Facundo Pellistri might be the winner in the stand-off between Erik ten Hag and Jadon Sancho.

And help with his development could come from an unlikely source.

United and Leeds are hated rivals going back decades, but former Elland Road boss Marcelo Bielsa is now in charge of Uruguay and is committed to developing Pellistri into a top class performer.

The 21-year-old star is currently away with the Leeds legend and the Uruguay national team during the international break.

But when he returns he’s hoping for more opportunities with ten Hag and his coaches more than satisfied Pellistri has the right focus and mental toughness to make an impact.