24/03/2018 09:00, Report by Adam Marshall
Tahith Chong was always going to stand out on a football pitch with his long hair and distinctive style but his form since returning to action has caught the eye more than anything else.
Always a target for tough tackles, he was injured in an Under-18 game against Everton last year and required surgery on the cruciate knee ligament damage. A lengthy spell on the sidelines halted his progress but the club looked after him well, including taking him away to Austria for the pre-season training camp.
Chong was at ease with his colleagues, able to cycle and remain part of the group, joining in with the jokes and japes. He also had time for his first dummy MUTV interview in the Alpine sunshine. Relaxed on camera, the Netherlands prospect was just itching to get back in action.
The 18-year-old made his return in November against Manchester City, scoring early on, and has not looked back since. The staff are still treating a player described by Under-23s boss Ricky Sbragia as a “gem” and by Head of Academy Nicky Butt as a “player we’ve always had at Manchester United over the years”, carefully. The artificial surface and aggressive opponents in Brodarac in the UEFA Youth League was deemed an unnecessary risk and Chong remained at home in Manchester.
That was probably hard to take for the former Feyenoord youngster, who clearly just enjoys playing football….