By James Nalton, Football Whispers
We continue our look at the future of the United States Men's National team with a profile of Paris Saint-German's Timothy Weah.
He's a player who is already making waves on the international scene, and has a number of role models to learn from at club level.
But how good is he and how far can he go?
Who Is Timothy Weah?
Weah is the son of former Liberian international footballer George who played the majority of his club career at Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain, and AC Milan.
George won the Ballon d’Or in 1995, as well as the FIFA World Player of the Year award in the same year.
Despite his famous footballing father, Weah has commented that his first football coach was actually his Jamaican-born mother, Clar.
“She knows the game a lot because she watched my dad,” he told Michael Lewis in 2013.
“She coached me through with my sister and I have been playing since then.
"I really thank my mom and my dad helping me to this day and being successful in life. Not only on the pitch, but off the pitch.”
Weah was eligible to play for Jamaica, France, and Liberia at international level, but has chosen the country of his birth, and the one which developed him as a young player – the United States.
He played for Ridgewood, Queens, based U.S. Soccer Development club, Blau-Weiss Gottschee, before joining the New York Red Bulls academy and eventually moving to France to play for the PSG academy at the age of 14.
From there he has progressed through the youth sides and now has five appearances for the first team to his name.
There is very little data available for a player with so few first team appearances, but in terms of simple goals tally he isn’t doing so badly so far this season.
He has two goals in three appearances, totalling just 143 minutes of football – and these consist primarily of the 90 minutes he played in the French Super Cup in which he scored as part of a 4-0 win v AS Monaco.
He did, however, play 221 minutes of football in the International Champions Cup this summer, appearing in games against FC Bayern, Arsenal, and Atlético de Madrid, scoring once and notching up an assist via a penalty win.
The game against Bayern saw him complete four out of the four dribbles he attempted, and finish with 94 percent pass accuracy.
His overall pass accuracy for the tournament was 92 percent, which is promising for someone operating in advanced positions where plays are often more risky, producing lower percentages.
Football Whispers player comparison tool tells us Weah is similar in style to Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace), Adama Traoré (Wolverhampton Wanders), Mohamed El Hankouri (Feyenoord), Junior Hoilett (Cardiff City), Renato Santos (Malaga) and Isaac Success (Watford).
Though there is little data to draw upon for this comparison, this is nevertheless accurate.
He’s a direct forward who can play wide with the potential to operate through the middle. Like Zaha he could be an ideal foil for another striker, drifting into the channels while his partner occupies the opposition centre-backs.
Most of his appearances for PSG's first team so far have been as a striker in a front three.
In terms of his effectiveness in wide positions, Weah is a right footer who can operate as an inside forward cutting in from the left, as shown with the goal below, or as a traditional winger on the right.
You could also imagine him doing a job at wing-back in an attacking side, and he has the physical attributes to recover and tackle back in defence.
He has a good eye for a pass, even though they’re not always the right weight in their execution but this should come with experience.
International - United States
Weah scored on his second appearance for the senior national side against Bolivia, which was also his first start.
His debut came against Paraguay, which was the reward for some impressive performance for the USMNT youth sides from under-14s through to under-18s.
He was part of the United States under-17 side which participated in the 2017 World Cup, alongside the likes of Josh Sargent, Chris Durkin, and Andrew Carleton.
His hat-trick against Paraguay made him the side’s joint top scorer alongside Sargent on three.
He should be a regular in the senior roster from now on.
At club level he is fighting for a place in a team which boasts the best attacking players in the world. Kylian Mbappé and Neymar will be regular Ballon d’Or contenders, while Edinson Cavani is still one of the best strikers around.
That he has managed to make a handful of appearances this season despite this fierce competition is testament to his ability, and the high regard in which he’s held by his coaches.
This transfers to the international stage, where you’d expect him to be a regular in USMNT camps, and possibly even a regular in the starting XI, given his ability to play across the front three.
His presence may distract some of the attention away from Christian Pulisic, with opposition sides having to work about the PSG man as much as his compatriot from Borussia Dortmund.
The USMNT needs support for Pulisic, and Weah could be one of the players to provide it.