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Dublin: 3°C Monday 19 April 2021

George Weah's son plans to thank John O'Shea for 'everything he's done for the game'

The PSG and USA teenager is expected to feature against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium tomorrow night.

Tim Weah pictured training at the Aviva Stadium earlier.
Tim Weah pictured training at the Aviva Stadium earlier.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

IT’S BEEN A whirlwind few days for Tim Weah.

Having been selected in a youthful-looking squad, the 18-year-old earned his second cap and scored his first goal as USA beat Bolivia 3-0 earlier this week.

He is the son of George Weah, the legendary former AC Milan and PSG striker, who is currently president of Liberia.

Like his Ballon d’Or-winning father, Weah is a pacy attacker with plenty of pace and skill to boot.

He also has an eye for a goal, which he demonstrated amply with a clinical finish against the Bolivians early Tuesday morning Irish time, in the process becoming the fourth-youngest US international ever to score at senior level.

Yet amid the hype surrounding him, it is easy to forget that Weah is still an inexperienced teenager with plenty of work to do in order to fulfill his potential — a point USA caretaker boss Dave Sarachan was keen to emphasise during his pre-match press conference today.

“I think Tim is still finding his way as a young player,” he said. “He possesses a lot of tools that can put him on the path to being [great]. He’s got good strength and more importantly, good pace, and the ability to stretch teams, and that’s a real great quality.

“He’s very young and he still needs to understand what it’s like at the next level in terms of the physicality and the speed of play.

But I think the tools are there for a promising career. He’s not there yet. There’s a lot of room for improvement, but as we saw last game, he has the ability to make a play. He’s doing well and is coming along.”

Speaking ahead of the match, meanwhile, Weah – who is part of a 25-man US squad with an average age of 23 — said he was excited about the prospect of playing Ireland.

“I’m just expecting a really competitive game, a really physical Irish team and I know they’re going to give it their all,” he tells The42.

“I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen tomorrow and I know we’re going to give it our all.”

There is just one Irish player that Weah is familiar with and it is no surprise to discover his identity.

John O'Shea Tim Weah is looking forward to coming up against John O'Shea tomorrow night. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

With five Premier League titles and a Champions League winners’ medal among his many achievements in the game, it’s no surprise that Weah has admiration for veteran Sunderland defender John O’Shea.

The Waterford native is set to make his 118th and final appearance for Ireland at the Aviva Stadium tomorrow night, and Weah recognises the significance of the occasion.

“I’m really looking forward to that,” Weah, who is almost 20 years younger than the defender, says. “To play against him in his last international game is going to be amazing and a great feeling.

“At the end of the match, I’m going to go over to him and give him a hug and just tell him ‘thank you for what you’ve done for the game and just keep it moving after that’.”

In stark contrast with O’Shea, the Bolivia game aside, Weah has just one late substitute appearance against Paraguay last March to his name and is a relative newcomer at this level.

It’s a different experience,” he explains. “I love coming in with the boys, I love representing my country, it’s everything I’ve been dreaming of since I was a young kid. Getting my third cap hopefully tomorrow is going to be a great experience and scoring a goal on my second cap was just a dream come true.

“I’m just working, maturing and developing my game each day and I’m looking forward to what the future has.”

Away from international duty, the New York-born player is progressing well at reigning Ligue 1 champions PSG. He made his first-team debut as a substitute against Troyes back in March, before another late cameo against Metz. Weah then went on to complete 90 minutes in the end-of-season 0-0 draw away to Caen.

“It’s an incredible club, an incredible bunch of players, incredible coaching staff, I’m learning so much from playing with them each day at such a young age and I’m maturing in a way that I really wanted to.

“I’m seeing my game really develop for the better. I’m really happy to be at PSG, I want to stay there and learn and hopefully get some playing time.

“I feel like loan is a little too early. I still want to be with them, get some more minutes and maybe at the end of next season or in the middle of next season, I’ll go out on loan. Who knows? It’s the coach’s choice.

When I meet the coach [the newly appointed ex-Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel], we’re probably going to have a talk and discuss the future.”

The42 is just about to ask about the influence of his famous father, when Weah is suddenly whisked off for training. A young man in a hurry, no doubt.

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Paul Fennessy

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