Loan watch: Chong stars for Birmingham

Monday 23 August 2021 12:16

Manchester United winger Tahith Chong is continuing to make a huge early impression on loan with Birmingham City.

The 21-year-old joined the Blues on a season-long deal last month and has made an immediate impact in the Championship club’s opening games of the campaign. 

After a Man-of-the-Match performance on debut at Sheffield United, Chong missed matches against Colchester United and Stoke City through injury before returning in midweek when Bournemouth were the visitors to St Andrew’s. 

He started again on Saturday and helped to inspire Lee Bowyer’s side to a rampant 5-0 victory over Luton Town at Kenilworth Road, claiming assists for the team’s second and third goals of the match. 

Chong posted on Instagram after the match and said: “5-0 away from home! Great performance, fans were unreal! Thank you to the Luton fans as well for the reception when I came off.”

The winger has quickly become a fans' favourite of those that follow the Midlands club, and chants of 'Chong, Chong will tear you apart again' could be heard coming loud and clear from the away end in the aftermath of Saturday's third goal.

His showing was appreciated by his boss Bowyer too, who was full of praise for our young winger after the final whistle.

“He was very good,” he told the Blues’ club media.

“I think the first 20-25 minutes, before they changed their shape, he was causing them so many problems. 

“Chong is a good player, a very good player and we’ve just got to look after him and keep trying to improve him,” Bowyer added. 

“I thought he let them off the hook a few times in that first 20 minutes, he’d got past one and then passed and he could have kept going and got shots off. 

“That’s what he did better in the second half but he’s just a young lad learning the game. He’s a good talent.”

It has been a busy weekend all round on the loan front for United’s young talent, with Dylan Levitt, Andreas Pereira and James Garner securing moves to Dundee United, Flamengo and Nottingham Forest respectively for the 2021/22 campaign.

The first of that trio made his debut for the Scottish side, playing 90 minutes and coming out on top in a Reds loan derby as Levitt and co beat Reece Devine’s St Johnstone 1-0 in Scotland's top flight. Devine was an unused substitute for the Saints. 

Levitt spent most of the pre-season with the Reds' first team, before joining Dundee United for the 2021/22 campaign on Friday.
Garner could be next to get a first run-outs in midweek. If the midfielder features in Forest’s Carabao Cup second-round tie against Wolves on Tuesday, it would be his second debut for Chris Hughton's side, having also called the City Ground his temporary home for the final six months of last season.

One United youngster who knows a thing or two about second debuts is Axel Tuanzebe, who made his returning bow at Villa Park over the weekend, helping Aston Villa to see out a victory and a clean sheet against Newcastle United in the Premier League. 

League debuts were also a feature for our young Reds over the weekend with Di’Shon Bernard getting his first opportunity to play Championship football after starting and getting 90 minutes for Hull City versus Fulham while fellow centre-back Will Fish, who has impressed in Stockport County’s pre-season, made his first competitive appearance for the Hatters in their National League opener against Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday. 

Ethan Laird made his first start for Swansea and helped keep a clean sheet in a 1-0 triumph at Bristol City on Friday night.

There was also more senior experience for Ethan Galbraith and Nathan Bishop who played 90 minutes for Doncaster Rovers and Mansfield Town respectively, meanwhile Facundo Pellistri was a late substitute for Deportivo Alaves in their narrow La Liga loss to Mallorca on Saturday.