Tahith Chong hoped his opportunity against Astana last week would propel him into regular first team contention. It has probably had the opposite effect.
Chong’s performance was disastrous, with the winger missing an open goal which could have put United 2-0 up. United conceded less than a minute later and went on to lose 2-1.
It was clear that Chong knew that he had messed up. It was a big moment, and it defined that he lacked the composure required to make a difference.
This was not Chong’s first chance. He has had three starts this season and failed to impress in all of them. It’s been noticeable. In each of them he was one of the worst players on the pitch. There’s no point sugar coating it to suggest otherwise.
It isn’t that Chong lacks talent, but he clearly does not have the belief. Some fans have written him off already at this point.
The easy option for Chong is to give up, let his deal expire next summer and start again elsewhere. It may give him a quicker route to first team football.
What happens next is up to Chong
Chong has to think carefully before he takes the easy option to move on. He can still be a success at United, he just needs to take a different route to the one he intended.
The Dutchman hoped he would be able to instantly prove himself a first team level talent. That isn’t easy.
The first step for him is to sign a new United contract. This would end the uncertainty and help him relax. A lack of clarity over his future can’t be helping him on the pitch.
Then he needs to go out on loan. The best option would be to head abroad, to Holland, France. Spain or Germany, and find a club willing to give him regular minutes.
Over the course of the next 18 months Chong can then develop as a first team player away from United’s spotlight.
At that point, in the summer of 2021, Chong can return to United full of confidence, like a new player ready to start again.
And if it isn’t meant to be, then he can move on permanently with regular football under his belt.
This is the way for Chong to make it at Old Trafford. The current plan isn’t working. It’s up to him whether to walk away, to try a different route to the top.
Chong will have the respect of United fans if he chooses not to take the easy path away from Old Trafford.
An option is to come out fighting, give an interview and tell us all he’s determined to make it no matter what.
Nobody would be surprised if he wants to quit at this point. He looked distraught after missing his easy chance on Thursday.
Chong has clearly got a lot to work on, but nobody likes a quitter. What happens now is up to him.
Proving his doubters wrong should be great motivation. The miss against Astana could be just the start for him, not the end.
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