With his shaggy hair and athletic nature, Tahith Chong cuts an imposing figure and his move to Manchester United certainly got everybody talking about the Dutch youngster.
The deal to sign the Feyenoord youngster, rated one of his country’s hottest prospects, was finalised on 27 July 2016 as he received international clearance in order to represent the Reds.
The Netherlands youth international has looked impressive in a wing role as that allows him to show off his blistering pace.
In his first season, he scored the club’s only goal in the 2016/17 FA Youth Cup, a stunner at Old Trafford against Southampton which will live long in the memory – despite the eventual defeat.
Kieran McKenna commented: “Tahith has hit the ground running in his time here and I think he’s just a fantastic professional. He has the right attitude to training and looks after himself really well off the pitch. He’s really personable and good with the staff and players, which has helped him to settle in quickly. On the pitch, everyone has been excited by his performances; he’s an eye-catching player.
“We’ll just keep pushing him to add to that with an end product so he can add goals and assists, as he has been doing, and can have a bright future in the game.”
Unfortunately, he suffered a bad tackle in January’s Academy game against Everton which prematurely ended his debut campaign in Manchester. It left him with figures of four goals in 15 appearances (13 as a starter) for the 2016/17 campaign.
The Curacao-born winger recovered from a knee operation to make an instant impact at all youth levels, starting by scoring in the first start of his comeback against Manchester City’s Under-18s in November.
Some dazzling displays followed, including some fine work in the UEFA Youth League, and he immediately took to life at Under-23s level like a duck to water.
In addition to his strike against on his Reserves debut against Tottenham, he has found the net in each of his four outings at Old Trafford and also impressed in the UEFA Youth League.
Chong beat off competition from fellow contenders Lee O’Connor and James Garner to secure the Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year award for 2018 and was further rewarded with a spot on the first-team tour of the United States in the summer of 2018.
On his return, he remained a main man for the Under-23s and a key figure in Ricky Sbragia’s side, as well as continuing to sparkle in the UEFA Youth League with it clear that his work on provided an end product is reaping dividends.
A first call-up to the senior squad, in a competitive fixture, came in one of the biggest nights at Old Trafford for years as Juventus provided the opposition on 23 October 2018, when he was named on the bench.
A few months later, Chong went one better and made his first-team debut in a 2-0 FA Cup win against Reading on 5 January 2019. He was introduced as a late second-half substitute and was warmly received by the Old Trafford faithful. He will also have benefited hugely from coming on for the latter stages of the famous Champions League triumph at Paris Saint-Germain.
Another place on the summer tour indicated how highly he is regarded and he started the season well, helping Neil Wood’s team achieve victory in a first-ever EFL Trophy game for the club, at Rotherham United.
He continued to make an impression in the first team and signed a new contract in March 2020.