Tahith Chong has loved his time at Birmingham City up to now.
Under Lee Bowyer, a manager with an excellent track record of nurturing young players on loan – ask those at Charlton Athletic – the Dutch winger has finally clinched the opportunity he’s long coveted. Chong has wanted a chance in English football to prove his worth, and the early signs are that his decision to join Blues from Manchester United is paying off.
Chong has been a routine selection in Bowyer’s starting XI for pretty much the entirety of the season and in certain situations he’s really displayed his quality.
Yet to find the net for Blues, Chong did light up Kenilworth Road earlier in the campaign with two assists in a searing display and an emphatic victory over Luton.
He credits Bowyer, his teammates and those who dwell at Wast Hills for how quickly he has settled into his new surroundings.
“The staff, the players, everyone at Birmingham has done a wonderful job making me feel welcome, and that makes it easier to perform on the pitch,” Chong said, in an interview with ESPN. “After the first conversation I had with the manager, it attracted me a lot. He explained what his plans are for me and the team.
“That conversation stuck with me, and then we had a second one, and I felt that it was the right place for me to keep developing and keep improving as a player. If I’ve had questions, anything I’ve wanted to know, the door has always been open. It makes it easier for me as a player.
“At the end of last season, I sat down with my family and the club and discussed what was best for me as a player and for my development. I’m very happy to be at Birmingham. They’ve been very welcoming and hopefully we can have a good season.”
Blues were by no means the only club in for Chong, once it became apparent once again last summer that he’d be permitted to leave Old Trafford again temporarily.
Bowyer and Craig Gardner had plenty of work to do in securing that deal, and it’s an arrangement that appears to have pleased Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who is in regular contact with Chong.
The plan was simple, and not too dissimilar to those intended for many youngsters making their way in the game; go and earn minutes in a senior footballing environment and build up your experience of playing first-team football.
“Before I left I spoke to the manager, and he told me to go there and express myself and that he would be watching,” Chong added. “He’s texted me a couple of times to say well done and that’s appreciated. It means he’s watching. Both parties – me and the club – wanted me to play regular minutes. Hopefully I can continue to do that.
“When you’re learning, you need to play games. There’s only a certain amount you can get from training. You want games, you want to play regularly, because you have to keep improving and keep learning. The aim is to be a better player after this season.”
Read the full interview by clicking here.