Who is Tahith Chong? Manchester United wonderkid who could make Red Devils debut vs Derby
Jose Mourinho suggested during the summer that 18-year-old Chong may get a first-team chance in the domestic cups
Manchester United begin their Carabao Cup campaign on Tuesday night with Derby visiting Old Trafford to take on the Red Devils.
Jose Mourinho, the United manager, is expected to field a relatively rotated line-up for the match with his side back in Premier League action as soon as Saturday afternoon.
The likes of Sergio Romero, Diogo Dalot and Scott McTominay are expected to all come into the starting XI, and Mourinho could even name some of United’s academy kids among the substitutes.
One such kid is Tahith Chong, the 18-year-old winger, who was tipped to make his debut this term by Mourinho after impressing throughout pre-season. The Portuguese suggested Chong will train with his first-team squad and could be afforded minutes in the cup competitions, and many fans believe he will feature against Derby this evening.
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But just who is Chong? talkSPORT.com have taken an in-depth look at the talented teenager, and you can read our scout report below…
Name: Tahith Chong
Date of birth: December 4, 1999 (aged 18)
Club: Manchester United (0 apps / 0 goals)
National team: Netherlands Under-19s (7 apps / 0 goals)
Who is Tahith Chong?
Chong is an 18-year-old forward who plays for Man United, having joined from Feyenoord in the summer of 2016. He immediately started representing United’s Under-18s but had his season cut short when he suffered a cruciate injury in January 2017.
He returned to the Under-18 set-up 10 months later, and made his Under-23 debut at the beginning of this year – scoring United’s goal in a 3-1 loss to Spurs with Jose Mourinho watching from the stands.
Playing for the Under-23s this season, Chong has so far scored two goals and created a further two in six starts, whilst also making an appearance in United’s UEFA Youth League campaign.
Chong was one of a group of United academy players taken on the club’s pre-season tour of the US, and he featured for 94 minutes – the most minutes of any academy played included in Mourinho’s travelling squad.
Style of play
A left-footed wide player, Chong started his United career as a proper throwback winger; he loved to show off his pace and trickery as he got up and down the flank, creating goals for others as well as scoring them himself. His explosive style of play makes him incredibly hard to deal with, and it is something of a shock to see a player so tall and skinny move so quickly across the ground.
Chong has primarily moved out onto the right flank for United’s Under-23s and he caught the eye in that position during the senior side’s pre-season tour of the US. While he still hugs the touchline in the manner of a classic winger, Chong also looks to cut inside and put the ball on his stronger left foot. In United’s pre-season clash against Club America he popped up in the number 10 position at times, and had his best joy against the opposition defence when moving infield.
Aside from his exceptional talent of running with the ball, Chong’s biggest strength is undeniably his ability to deliver the ball from wide. It is his crossing – both swinging crosses from deep and hard driven deliveries across the face of goal – that often stands out when Chong takes to the field.
The only real weakness evident in Chong’s game at this early stage of his development is his almost incessant use of his left foot. Even when dribbling he always prefers to keep the ball away from his weaker right foot, though he is hardly punished at youth level for that remarkable one-footedness.
When he starts getting a chance in senior matches, Chong will find the game much more unforgiving, and he’ll surely need to start using both feet to play at the highest level.