Tahith Chong has dropped back into Manchester United’s under-21s for an EFL Trophy match against Lincoln City. It comes after two disappointing performances for United’s first team.

The Dutch winger had played in senior games against Rochdale, FC Astana and Leicester City.

Chong starts for U21s vs Lincoln

His pace and movement were important in the latter as United held onto a 1-0 win. Conversely, his two most recent showings have been underwhelming. A lot of social media criticism followed, all of it excessive and disheartening in its nature given Chong remains only 19.

He started for United in the under-21s’ EFL Trophy fixture away to Lincoln City on Tuesday night.

It’s his first game for the youth sides since September showing that he’s very much part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first team. He’s actually only been involved with the under-23s on three occasions this season.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 19: Tahith Chong of Manchester United during the UEFA Europa League group L match between Manchester United and FK Astana at Old Trafford on September 19, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom.
(Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

Chong out of the firing line

It makes sense to take him out of the firing line after a stream of criticism directed towards Chong on Twitter. He played poorly against Astana and Rochdale. United won both games narrowly with the Rochdale victory coming via a penalty shoot-out.

Chong’s inclusion in the under-21s side is somewhat a surprise. United travel to the Netherlands on Thursday to face AZ Alkmaar in the UEFA Europa League. Chong played the first game of the group stage against Astana and is now unlikely to play in his home country.

 

Chong unlikely to play against Alkmaar

His quality should not be in doubt. He drifts across the pitch with such brilliant feet and agility. It’s not been seen properly for United’s first team and it’s probable that he’s not quite ready.

A mixture of first team games and short forays back into youth football is probably the right move from United until a loan move can be found for Chong in January.

United’s game against Lincoln is their second in the EFL Trophy. It’s the first time they’ve entered the competition having previously refused to do so.

Their starting XI against Lincoln showed the Reds’ intentions. It’s seen very much as a tournament to develop the youngest of their talents. Seven of the 18-man United squad on Tuesday were from the under-18s side.

James Garner started in midfield alongside Dylan Levitt and Ethan Galbraith, three midfielders with big potential in the centre of the park. Largie Ramazani has taken the season in his stride after Chong’s promotion to the first team gave him more regular playing time. Before Tuesday, he’d scored five goals and grabbed two assists in eight games.

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