April 14, 2019
First playing the game within the academy of Feyenoord Rotterdam, and then eventually at Manchester United, Tahith Chong has worked hard pushing up the ranks of the youth development systems in the hopes of eventually graduating to a first team spot.
With the standards being higher than ever in the Premier League for prospects, especially for the top clubs, the right-winger has had to put his un-divided attention into his performances and opportunities at United.
The nineteen-year-old Dutchman has been at United since 2016, and in his first season did a good job at getting settled into the club. Chong made fourteen total appearances in his debut season at United, and in his just over one-thousand minutes on the pitch managed three goals and seven assists.
At the youth stages, Chong’s assists are not something to be ignored, as proper development of his passing and play-making abilities could improve his chances at development into a member of the first team.
While Chong plays mainly as a right-winger, he is also capable of playing at left-wing. Adding that with the earlier mentioned potential play-making abilities, Chong could become one of the next youth players to graduate from the youth squad into the senior squad and make an instant impact.
The 2017/2018 season showed Chong’s improvements at his scoring abilities, as in his eighteen total appearances that season, he managed eight goals, and also two assists. In the 2017/18 season, Chong was split between the U18 and U23 squad’s, and while his assists weren’t more than the previous year, his improved scoring abilities
With Alexis Sanchez underperforming, Juan Mata ageing, and Romelu Lukaku still yet to gain the full trust of United’s staff with decent and consistent performances, the attacking spots in the first squad are currently not set in stone.
Many of the youth players at those positions have already been encouraged by the potential of graduating into one of those spots. Mason Greenwood has already been one of the young players at the club to impress the staff, and Chong will hope to do the same thing as he climbs through the ranks as well.
Chong has been on pace as well this season, as he has made twenty-three appearances, and has clocked just over eighteen-hundred minutes of pitch time on the year.
The right-winger has netted seven goals this year, and has also recorded three assists in all competitions this year, and can also look back at this season as the year that he made his debut into the senior squad. Chong made a quick appearance at Old Trafford in the 90th minute against Southampton, and also got ten minutes of play-time when he came off the bench in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League match against Paris Saint-Germain.
When a player so young makes appearances in the first squad, albeit brief ones, it is still always a major show of confidence from the manager, and should not be taken lightly by the young prodigy.
With those brief showings, it is the goal of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to make Chong hungrier for more play-time, and if Chong continues with his consistent development through the youth system, then he will not be far off from the highly coveted spot within United’s first team.
Written by Joel Dulka