Who is Tahith Chong? Meet the latest Man Utd first-team debutant

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The Dutch youngster came off the bench against Reading in the FA Cup on Saturday to become the latest academy star to graduate to the first team

Tahith Chong became Manchester United's 229th youth product to play for the first team on Saturday when he made his debut against Reading in the FA Cup.

The Curacao-born wide man played the final 30 minutes of the 2-0 win at Old Trafford, sparking a roar from the home crowd and an immediate new chant of "One Chong, we've only got one Chong!"

It was little surprise that the 19-year-old was given the nod by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, given the manager's recent insistence that he would do everything he could to maintain United's tradition of blooding youth players.

But more than that, it could have been a small glimpse into the future of United's right-side of attack going forward.

United have struggled to find a compelling solution on the right wing since Jose Mourinho took over at Old Trafford, with Juan Mata, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, Ashley Young and Anthony Martial all being used there to varying degrees of success.

The addition of Alexis Sanchez was considered by some to be an attempt to solve that issue, but the Chilean has largely been utilised on the left, first under Mourinho and now Solskjaer, and fans are looking at potential answers elsewhere in the Old Trafford stocks.

Chong plays primarily off the right despite being left-footed but was also used on the left of midfield on occasion by assistant boss Kieran McKenna during his tenure as under-18s coach before the Dutchman suffering a season-ending injury against Everton in January 2017.

If anything, his game has improved since returning to full fitness later that year, providing the sort of threat which is a throwback to Manchester United sides of old.

With great strength and speed, the rangy Feyenoord youth product loves nothing more than to take on opposition players. His fearlessness on the ball leads to him creating many an opportunity for both himself and his team-mates, and his ability to get into goalscoring positions is one of his most attractive features.

Like many of United’s recent graduates to the first-team squad, Chong boasts a great work-rate, with his willingness to cover his full-back without a second’s thought making him a manager’s dream.

Tahith Chong Manchester United 2018-19

He also reads the game well, with several of his goals at age-group level helping to show what he can achieve thanks to his clever footballing brain.

The winger provides an aerial threat, too, and can often be found drifting in to the centre to cause havoc from crossing positions.

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While the likes of Demi Mitchell, Scott McTominay, Axel Tuanzebe and Josh Harrop got fleeting chances under Mourinho, Chong, Jimmy Garner and Angel Gomes could get significant opportunities to shine as this term pushes towards its close thanks to their form across the youth levels.

Gomes might well have become the club’s youngest player since Duncan Edwards when he came on against Crystal Palace in May 2017, but there is another United prodigy ready to cause a stir too.

And for some, Chong's arrival on the big stage was even more anticipated than that of Gomes, with many seeing his frame and poise as key attributes which could help him to become a more regular part of the senior set-up in the very near future.

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