Wayne Rooney was full of praise for Manchester United youngster Tahith Chong ahead of Derby County’s clash with Birmingham City.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference yesterday, Rooney saved some kind words for Chong, who is currently on loan from United at Lee Bowyer’s Blues.

The talented 21-year-old is now onto his third spell away from Old Trafford since making his first-team debut in 2019.

He linked up with Werder Bremen and Club Brugge last season, yet neither trips abroad bore any exotic fruit.

Chong returned to Carrington ahead of the new campaign but was quickly sent away to join Birmingham.

A 5-0 romping of Luton Town last month saw the versatile forward bag a brace of assists and instantly endear himself to the Blues faithful.

His next task is to take on Rooney’s Rams tomorrow night at St. Andrew’s.

“He’s a good player,” said United’s greatest ever goalscorer.

“He’s a player who obviously went out to Germany last season, it didn’t quite come off for him there.

“Obviously, he’s a very talented player, he played against us in the preseason and yeah, he’s an impact player, he has good moments in the game.

“So, of course, we’ll have to be wary of him and make sure we’re on our toes and we’re defending well against him because if we give him time and space, then he’s a player who can really hurt you.”

Rooney was on another continent when Chong strode out for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side two years ago.

Stationed with DC United at the time, the Derby manager will probably have heard rumblings through the academy about this rising star.

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Now, United past and present are preparing for battle in England’s second division, far away from the promised land of the Premier League.

Both will have ambitions of climbing the summit and reaching the pearly gates once again.

For Rooney, taking Derby back into the top flight would be the stuff of dreams; extremely misty dreams.

Meanwhile, representing the Red Devils regularly is probably the ultimate goal for Chong.

Impress in a Birmingham shirt and the chance might be heading his way soon.