Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has hailed Tahith Chong after the youngster impressed during his side’s 1-1 draw with Club America in pre-season.
The 18-year-old came off the bench to play a key role in Juan Mata’s equaliser in Phoenix as the Red Devils started their preparations for the upcoming Premier League season.
Chong, who was named as the club’s young player of the year last season, put in a teasing cross which was initially met by Ander Herrera before Mata found the back of the net for Mourinho’s side.
Mourinho believes Chong needs to improve physically but was full of praise for the Dutch winger’s confidence and ability.
He told United’s official club website: “He [Chong] was good.
“He came with the intention to show [what he can do] and in a moment where we had no strikers on the pitch – [Anthony] Martial was the only one and then he left, so we had no strikers – so we needed people to create and have some initiative, which he did.
“The action for the cross for the goal [by Mata] was a beautiful action. He was enthusiastic and he was confident to play.
“Of course, physically he has his limitations and, when he had one more touch and he allowed the body contact [from defenders], of course he loses [the ball] for everyone.
“But when he makes the ball move and when he attacks people one against one, he has qualities – he’s a good kid.“
Mourinho also hopes to have Chong training with the United first team as much as possible in an effort to aid his development and boost his chances of a competitive debut in the future.
”We have plans to make him [Chong] train the most possible times with us because that increases his evolution,” Mourinho added.
“He has to play where he belongs, he has to play in the Academy and he has to work physically because physically is where he’s not ready.
“Technically he’s very good, tactically he understands the game. He understands his position. From the physical point of view, when the game gets into important situations, he’s in trouble, he’s fragile.
“He’s a kid, he’s still a kid, the talent is there, the personality is there, the passion, the desire to play, the humility to learn, so it’s a fantastic experience for him if he can play like today 20-25 minutes in every one of these five matches.
“If during the season, he trains with us and if during the season, he has a couple of occasions to play minutes with us, I don’t know, it depends, especially some cup matches.
“Of course he’s a good kid and it’s not for today, but for sure, he’s a good kid.”