Timothy Weah: Why I agreed to loan move to Celtic

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Timothy Weah admits it would be hard to get a more ringing endorsement of his decision to join Celtic than the one he received from his father George, an icon of world football.

For Weah Snr, he revealed, is a fan of Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers having watched from afar the Northern Irishman’s work with Swansea and Liverpool.

Tim Weah during a PSG training session.

Tim Weah during a PSG training session.

As an 18-year-old seeking to make his own way in the game, it was only natural that Weah should turn to his dad, who turned out for clubs such as Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan, Chelsea, Manchester City and Marseille for some advice when the opportunity arose to swap PSG for Glasgow.

He said: “I spoke to him about coming to Scotland a few weeks ago when we were discussing the terms of the deal and he said it was a good decision.

“He said to go with my heart. If I felt it was the right decision, then you are a grown boy and you know what you need to do with your career.

“He believes in Brendan Rodgers and his system. He believes in the gaffer and what he plans to do. My dad had watched his work with what he did at Swansea and then taking over at Liverpool.

“My mum loved it when he was coaching Liverpool. I was a young kid watching that, too. 
Everyone knows Brendan. Him explaining who his players are, the team-mates I have and what I have to do to get onto his team made this the perfect team to join.

“He said Celtic is one of the best clubs to play for and the fans are incredible. It seems everyone who knows about Celtic knows to expect diehard fans. I watched the videos and realised that.

“It’s been a long wait, but I’m happy and grateful to be here with this beautiful club and I’m honoured to be able to have the clover of Celtic across my heart.

“It’s a true blessing because I went through hard times these past few months with not playing and watching from the sidelines.

“It’s fantastic to get an offer from such a great club and a historic club to 
represent.”

He may only be 18, but Weah speaks with a maturity well beyond his tender years, quietly spoken but nevertheless his determination to follow in his father’s footsteps as far as he can shines through.

Too young to have watched his father play, he has seen clips of him in action and fully appreciates why he was regarded as one of the world’s top players, an iconic figure who is now president of his country, Liberia.

“I guess I would use one word to describe myself: determined,” he said. I don’t really like to give up a lot. I’m a hard worker.

“I’m only 18, but, at the same time, I have high expectations of myself.

“I know I can push myself to be able to get minutes and time with the big boys. I know I can do it and that’s what sets me off sometimes.

“But it’s all a learning experience and it’s all about maturing.

“I feel these last few months have really moulded me into a better player and a much-more mature young man.”

At PSG, Weah rubbed shoulders with some of today’s biggest stars, Brazilians Neymar and Dani Alves and Belgian Thomas Meunier, and that daily contact, he admitted, has shown him what is required to play at the very top.

He said: “I’m really friendly with them. They are great guys. When you’re on a team with them, you see them every day. You get to know them personally and watching those players in training really helps you.

“You see the level they are at and you want to get to that level and you want to train with that type of intensity. It really helps you a lot. It helps you improve really fast. That’s what I’ve been doing this past while, just learning and taking in everything I can.”

Neymar may not be a favourite with the Celtic support given his brushes with skipper Scott Brown, who was shown a red card for an altercation with the then Barcelona player, and, later, refusing to swap shirts with youngster Anthony Ralston following PSG’s 5-0 Champions League win.

Weah, though, believes the £200 million man, a firm friend, is simply a misunderstood guy. “Because Neymar is one of the best players in the world he’s going to get hit,” he said.

“He is a target in every game. I guess it’s a form of protection for him, not to get injured. I think people can be a bit hard on him, but, at the end of the day, he provides for his team.

“He wins games and that’s what matters. I think that’s what people have to start looking at. He’s a decisive player and that’s the most important thing.

“I didn’t go to him and speak to him one-on-one about coming to Celtic but I kinda spoke to other team-mates like Thomas and Dani and they said it’s good to go out and get experience and they felt Celtic was the best club because you’re getting that.

“It’s all in the package: great team, great supporters, great stadium, great coaching staff, so it’s a great place to come and learn.”

Weah is clear as to the sacrifices he will have to make if he is to achieve his goals, saying: “Being an 18 year-old ‘football player’ – among the best 18 year-olds in the world, as some people might say – there are temptations.

“There are girls, there’s going out to parties, there’s doing this, there’s doing that, there is drinking and blah blah blah. But, at the end of the day, it all comes down to maturity and what you have to do as a man to reach that next level.

“You have to be disciplined and make sacrifices. Even if you are the type of person that wants to party all the time, you can’t, because your sport is important. If we didn’t have this we’d be in school doing regular stuff. So you should look at this as a blessing, being able to do something you love. I cherish this so much and that’s how I look at it and how I live that life.”

While he spoke at length of his knowledge of Celtic, Weah also revealed he’s boned up on some of his new team-mates. He said: “I’ve watched some of the games and tried to get to know the players. I’ve played as Celtic on Fifa to try and get to know the names that way.

“Mikey Johnston I know from the Uefa Youth League, I have played against him. [Mikael] Lustig is with Sweden and I’ve watched him. Odsonne Edouard, Olivier Ntcham are here as with Dedryck Boyata who I know was at Manchester City. So it’s interesting getting to know all these players. It’s also a different type of football and I’m looking forward to getting started.”

And, he insisted, he has no preference as to where he wants to play, adamant he’ll just be happy to play.

He said: “I’m really versatile. I like to play anywhere the coach needs me. It’s great that you can play on the left, the right or centre. Wherever the coach needs me to do the job, I’ll play. That’s what I’m here for, to provide for the team and help the team in any way. I’m here to learn and that’s what’s important for me.”