Although the first couple of pre-season matches are more about boosting fitness levels rather than the result, Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho would have been hoping for a winning start against Club America on Thursday night.
However, the Portuguese coach was without a host of first-team regulars due to their participation at the World Cup, while Alexis Sanchez wasn’t part of the squad because of visa issues.
Subsequently, it’s no real surprise that the Red Devils only managed to draw their opening pre-season friendly 1-1 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
Henry Martin put Club America ahead with a fine header past Joel Pereira on the hour-mark.
But an equaliser from Juan Mata, named Man of the Match, spared United’s blushes with just over 10 minutes left on the clock.
Mata, however, wasn’t the Man Utd player that fans on social media were all talking about after the final whistle.
Instead, it was 18-year-old Tahith Chong whose cameo appearance had the United faithful salivating.
Footage of Chong's debut v Club America
The Dutch winger - who made a huge impression on his reserves debut against Tottenham back in January - entered the fray for Demetri Mitchell with half-hour left to play.
He took his favoured spot on the right wing and caught the eye with his tenacity, skill and directness.
It was clear the youngster wanted to make a positive impression on his manager and the club’s fans and he didn’t disappoint.
Footage of the teenager’s individual highlights have now emerged and you can watch the video here…
It’s clear to see the lad is a real talent and, since he plays on the right wing, United fans genuinely think we could see more of him in the first team this season.
They reckon he’s the future of the club and while it may be a little too early to suggest that, you can’t blame them for getting a bit carried away.
Mourinho's post-match comments on Chong
After the match, however, Mourinho brought supporters back down to earth by admitting the starlet isn’t quite ready for competitive first-team football because of his physicality.
"I have plans to make him train the most possible times with us," Mourinho was quoted as saying by the Manchester Evening News. "Because that increases his evolution but he has to play where he belongs, he has to play in the academy and develop physically, because physically is where he is not ready.
"Technically he is very good, tactically he understands the game and he understands his position but by the physical point of view, but when the game gets into contact situations he is in trouble, he is fragile, he is still a kid.
"But the talent is there, the personality is there, the passion to play, the humility to learn, so this is a fantastic experience for him. If he can play like today, 20 or 25 minutes in every one of these five matches and, if during the season he trains with us, and has a couple of occasions to play minutes with us, I don't know, depends, some cup matches.
"He is one of the good kids we have. It is not for today but for the tomorrow he is a good kid."
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