With two and a half years spent as a youngster at Bayern Munich, where in the final 18 months he was coached by Pep Guardiola, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg enjoyed a footballing education comparable with the best. Guardiola took a shine to the teenage Hojbjerg and wondered if the Dane could become Bayern’s answer to Sergio Busquets – who Guardiola managed at Barcelona – in defensive midfield.
Hojbjerg struggled to establish himself at Bayern, and so he looked elsewhere for first-team football. He ended up playing a key role for Southampton, having been appointed captain by their former manager Mark Hughes – a captaincy he then lost as he searched for a move from St Mary’s. Tottenham came in for him and completed a £15m deal in the summer of 2020 to plug a hole in their midfield that had existed ever since Victor Wanyama’s stark decline. Hojbjerg, key to José Mourinho’s midfield, joins a select group of players that includes Pedro, Xabi Alonso and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to have played under both Guardiola and Mourinho.