Tahith Chong only played one game for Manchester United in pre-season, and in that 45 minutes he seized his opportunity to impress.
On Saturday night the young Dutchman began his loan spell at Birmingham City and he made a real impact, with a bittersweet ending.
Rather than out wide, Chong was played in a more experimental free role in midfield by manager Lee Bowyer. It seemed to work well.
Chong was heavily involved as Birmingham secured a surprise 1-0 away win over promotion favourites Sheffield United.
While his three shots were a little wayward, he showed his willingness to have a go.
Off the ball he attempted tackles, more than any player on the pitch, winning three, as he pushed ferociously to win the ball back for his side.
Chong won eight duels in total, and blocked two shots. The defensive side of his game was one he has not often been given credit for.
The sad part of Chong’s night was that he was substituted in the 73rd minute due to injury.
Hopefully it won’t keep him out for long, if any time at all, because he was making a really good first impression.
After mixed loan spells at Werder Bremen last season and then Club Brugge, Chong needs to make this one work, whether he has a future at Manchester United or not.
The hustle and bustle of the Championship seemed to suit the occasionally frenetic nature of Chong’s game at Bramall Lane.
While he will need to show more quality on the ball than he showed on his debut, this was a great start in getting his new fans on side.
Birmingham fans saw a player who was committed, energetic, and wants to make a difference. With 45 more league games to go, this was a strong start.
Here is a look at how Birmingham City fans reacted to Tahith Chong’s debut…
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