Tim Weah is relishing the chance to play on the one stage his famous footballing father never graced when he takes to the field for the United States at the World Cup.
The 22-year-old Lille winger is a key part of a talented United States squad in Qatar which is plotting to spring a surprise in Group B where the Americans face England, Wales and Iran.
Weah’s father George long dreamed of playing in the World Cup, but was never able to guide Liberia to the tournament during a club career that saw him acclaimed as one of the greatest players in history.
“My dad wanted the opportunity to play in a World Cup with his country but never got the opportunity to do it,” Tim Weah told reporters on Tuesday. “Now he’s kind of reliving that through me.”
Twelve years ago, Weah was a wide-eyed 10-year-old football fan accompanying his father as a guest at the 2010 World Cup final, watching in awe as Andres Iniesta’s extra-time winner sealed the title for Spain.
“Just watching that, and watching all my favourite players on the field was a dream come true,” Weah told AFP at the team’s training base on Tuesday.
“To be in that same position now is crazy, kind of surreal. I guess when you’re in the position that I’m in now you don’t really realise how blessed you are.
“This is something that we’ve been working on for such a long time. To be here is an amazing feeling…It hasn’t really hit me yet if I’m being honest.”
Comfortable operating as a conventional winger or as wing-back, Weah says he hopes to crown his World Cup debut with a goal—preferably against Group B opponents England on November 25.
“I’m not going to lie. The whole world admires England. I admire England. The players they have, the talent they have, the history that they have,” Weah said.
“It’s definitely something big when you score against a team like that. But it’s a World Cup – I’ll take a goal against anyone.”
With an average age of just under 25, the United States has the youngest squad at the World Cup.
Weah however brushes off suggestions that inexperience may hamper US chances of performing well, citing the experience of elite European club football gleaned by many of his team-mates.
“I feel like right now, the way football is, age is just a number,” Weah said. “Some of the best players in the world are not even 24 yet.
“Individually we all have our own experiences, and we’re all bringing our own maturity to the team…I feel like when we all come together we bring our own level of maturity,” Weah said.
“And even though we’re young, we’re not young-minded. It’s not an immature group at all. It’s a group of guys who know what they want. We’re all just hungry and want to get started.”
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