As a disciple of the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was always going to give opportunities to Manchester United’s talented youngsters during his spell as the club’s interim manager.
The Norwegian, who is currently ‘on loan’ to United from Molde until the end of the season, used promising 18-year-old Angel Gomes as a late substitute in the 3-1 win over Huddersfield Town on Boxing Day.
Saturday’s FA Cup third round tie against Championship strugglers Reading, meanwhile, saw Solskjaer name 19-year-old Tahith Chong and 17-year-old James Garner on the subs’ bench.
Garner was an unused substitute in United’s 2-0 win, but Chong came off the bench to make his competitive senior debut midway through the second half.
The Netherlands Under-21 international, who joined the Red Devils from Feyenoord in 2016, replaced Juan Mata in the 62nd minute.
United’s fans gave the teenager a rousing reception as he entered the fray, with the vast majority of them acutely aware of his talent and potential.
They even created a chant for the youngster. “We’ve only got one Chong!” echoed around Old Trafford shortly after his introduction.
In truth, though, Chong’s performance showed that he’s probably not quite ready for first-team football just yet.
It’s clear he’s a talented kid with massive potential - and he produced a few bright moments during his cameo appearance - but he looked a little nervous at times and was also shown a yellow card.
A video showing his individual highlights has emerged and you can watch it here…
United fans were all in agreement about the youngster. While they were relatively impressed by what they saw, very few of them believe he’s ready for competitive first-team football based on Saturday’s evidence.
"He had two or three really good moments, as you do when you're young," Solskjaer was quoted as saying by the Mirror after the match. "You don't run the game as a first performance for a 19-year-old.
"But he got the crowd going, and has shown one or two glimpses of what he can do, he has in training anyway. And the game wasn't won, it was 2-0 and was still go out there and perform. It's not like it was 4-0 and it's just a party, so he did well defensively as well and I think he'll remember this for a long, long time."
Chong, meanwhile, told MUTV: "It was a special moment and I couldn't have enjoyed it more than I did.”
Asked what Solskjaer told him, Chong added: ”He said enjoy it, get on the ball, try and get a few touches and enjoy the game.
"It was a proud moment. I've worked hard to get there. My family have helped me so it's a proud moment."News Now - Sport News