Manchester United forward Tahith Chong will be given playing time by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this season after refusing to leave the club on loan this summer. The 19-year-old recently rejected the opportunity to leave for PSV Eindhoven or Feyenoord this summer, seemingly looking to stay at the club and earn his stripes the proper way.
Chong is currently on the fringes of the first team this season, not actually playing any football at first team level but performing at a good standard for the U23s when he has played. Chong has played trice for the U23s this season, playing 180 minutes of football. The Dutchman has scored two goals and assisted another in their unbeaten start to the season.
With the attacking ranks of the club pretty light, the likelihood that Chong and others will work their way into the first team is high, which will be good for the players and the club, which has taken a different stance with youth development since Sir Alex Ferguson retired with Louis van Gaal trusting youth, and David Moyes and Jose Mourinho not so trusting.
Chong played regularly during the clubs pre-season tour of Australia, Singapore, China, Norway and Wales, but has yet to see much involvement in the first team this season. That will change though with the Carabao Cup and the UEFA Europa League coming into action this month, which will increase the fixtures the club will play.
Solskjaer will need to utilise entire his squad, using around 15 players during the first four matches of the season, which has given him mixed results with one win, two draws and one defeat in the Premier League fixtures. Solskjaer has Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanches to replace in the forward line, the like of Chong and Mason Greenwood could help.
Chong recently spoke to Voetbal Primeur where he spoke about Solskjaer’s intentions for him, which is to get him involved in the first team on a regular basis. It will be a challenge for him though, like it was for most young players making the cut into the first team. Chong, currently on U21 international duty with the Netherlands, said:
“Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] tells me to keep working hard and my chances will come. That’s nice to hear.
“There are a few players who are left and I’m climbing up the pecking order.
“It’s always nice to come back to the Netherlands, but in the end I have to do what I find best for myself. That’s why I decided to stay.”
It has also been confirmed that the 19-year-old is currently discussing the option of a new contract at the Theatre of Dreams, which is great to see as the player has a good future ahead of him. Some supporters have already written him off from achieving at the club, which is early to do so based on the fact he’s not really had a good crack at the whip.
Speaking about the new contract, which could extend his stay at United for a number of years, at a club he wants to remain with, hence rejecting a loan move to his native Netherlands in the summer, the 19-year-old spoke about the fact talks are happening and that is was too soon to say anything, instead focussing on his football, which is great. Chong said:
“Of course we are talking, but it’s still too early to say anything about it.
“The season is still long and we will see what happens. There are a lot of competitions coming up and I will focus on that.”
This season could be great for the talented youth of United with Chong, Angel Gomes, James Garner, Largie Ramazani, Ethan Laird and Brandon Williams all starring at the start of the season at U23 level, also Mason Greenwood, who has not played any youth football but has been lively when given the chance for the first team. If these all make the first team, it will set United up massively for the future.