Chong signs new contract at United
In our exclusive interview, Tahith Chong reveals the reasons behind agreeing a new deal with the Reds...
Tahith, we know how much playing for Manchester United means to you so what does it mean to sign a new contract here? "I think it means everything to me really. Coming here as a young kid was a dream come true really. To still be able to play for this amazing club and still be here, I need to keep working hard to keep developing." There has been a lot of talk but do you shut that out, even if it might be annoying at times if the stories are far from the truth? "Yeah, I think, during the season, I’m so focused on the football side of it. Whatever comes of it, you put it to the side and try to focus on the football really. But it is good to finally clear it all up." Is it a relief, then, to have settled your future knowing your best years coming up will be at United? "100 per cent. I’m at a club where, if you work hard, you get your opportunities. It’s all about taking those opportunities as well. I think we’ve got a manager who believes in young players. It’s an exciting time at the moment." Ole is on record with his commitment to youngsters but Ed Woodward has also outlined how important it is to build on the youth policy so do you see yourself as part of the foundation of the side, a core of homegrown players? "The club has done a brilliant job really with the young players. It’s always been a club that gives opportunities to young players. This year it has been amazing the faith and trust that the manager has been showing in the young players." Does Nicky Butt also have an important role in helping your development? "I think, as young lads, you’re still going to make mistakes and still going to do some stuff you going to be told not to do. But I think, not just Butty, but everyone around the club does a brilliant job to help us settle in and just perform on the pitch." Do you feel your game is developing – all the different facets, maybe the defensive side is something you’re always working on? "Just to keep improving on everything I’ve got to improve. I know I’ve got a lot of improvement to do. Everyone around the club is doing a brilliant job to help me do that as well." A lot can happen but is there a plan in place for you about what might occur in the future? "Yeah, I speak to the manager and everyone around the club to look to what is best for you to do. I think the club is coming in with a brilliant plan and it is just exciting to see what’s going to happen next year." Is there a buzz around the place as you can sense we all feel at the moment that the club is going places? "I think the vibe is very positive. Everyone is just enjoying the football and the results are starting to come our way. Everyone is just enjoying it really." In terms of your first-team involvement, you have come oh so close to getting that first goal... "In two games, I’ve come very close now to a goal! It will eventually come and the most important thing is to work hard, and do your job for the team once you’re in the team." You got on against Club Brugge at half-time was that a good amount of time to show what you can do? "I think the scoreline helped as well. It helped me settle into the game and stuff like that. Like I’ve said, the times we’re playing now it’s just exciting football and everyone is enjoying it so it was easy to come in with the score like that as well." Is that the challenge now to get more minutes on board with the first team with all these games at home and abroad? "Not only that but during training and whether I’m in the Under-23s sometimes. I want to keep improving as a player and be the best player you can be possible for yourself really." Certainly, when you play for the Under-23s, your commitment is first class and you always give it everything… "I think the Under-23s, I’ve said it so many times, it’s an exciting group with a lot of good players. Once you go there, everyone just helps you and I try to lead as well to help the boys. It’s a pretty young team there so, once you come down, trying to help the boys and improve your game as well." Does it help that we have a group of young lads who are all pushing to get through at the same time? "Like I said, it’s an exciting group there and everyone is just pushing each other and it’s nice to see. The games come but we’ve done most of the work most of the time in training. We’re pushing each other every day and it’s good to see." Is this a big step to keep going at United and fulfilling these dreams in Manchester? "100 per cent. Just signing a new deal, I’m going to kick on now to keep improving day by day, training by training and game by game." Are you excited by the rest of the season? "I think we’ve got some exciting games coming up. Everyone is just excited to see what is coming up. These are exciting times, like I say."