Timothy Weah has reportedly been asked to leave Celtic FC by manager Neil Lennon, his loan being cut short after electing to skip a cup final and stay with the United States Under-20 national team at the upcoming World Cup. He was recently named to Tab Ramos’ 21-player side that will compete in Poland from May 23rd through June 15th.
Celtic is on the verge of a historic treble-treble (claiming the Scottish Premiership, the Scottish League Cup, and the Scottish Cup in three consecutive seasons). The Glasgow club faces off against Heart of Midlothian on May 25th in the Scottish Cup final.
According to Michael Gannon of the Daily Record, “Lennon managed to broker a deal with [Ramos] that would have freed up the forward.” Weah would have been in camp with the U.S. Under-20s, but return to Scotland for the cup final, missing the World Cup opener against the Ukraine. The Daily Record reports he “refused the offer and insisted he wanted to stay with his national team”.
“Tim has been missing a lot of games as of late,” Ramos told Sports Illustrated. “[He] has shown real interest in participating because he knew he wants to have this type of competition under his belt.” The manager also revealed that the 19-year-old attacker will be lined up as a winger.
Weah joined Celtic on loan in January from Ligue 1 super-club Paris Saint-Germain, scoring four goals in 17 appearances across all competitions. He had a strong start for the club under Brendan Rogers, but was given fewer opportunities following Lennon’s appointment in late February. He played 73 minutes in Celtic’s Premiership clinching 3-0 win over Aberdeen FC on May 4th and was training with the club ahead of the upcoming Old Firm derby.
“I want to say thank you all [to Celtic fans] for the undying support you have given me throughout my time with [the club],” Weah said in a posting on his personal Instagram account. “I will be joining my national team to participate in the U-20 World Cup in Poland. With this decision, the gaffer told me that it is in the best interest that I collect my things and go home rather than be a part of the game on Sunday.”
If this is how the situation played out, it is hard to fault either side. While the upcoming match against Rangers holds emotional value and Weah’s inclusion would be beneficial, it is ultimately unimportant with the title already clinched. Lennon is focused on winning the historic treble and training with players who are completely committed to the club.
Weah is looking out for his own best interests and making the decision to represent his national team. The U-20 World Cup attracts a lot of attention; a stellar performance can raise a player’s profile and lead to increased professional opportunities. If Weah believes he’s being marginalized at the club level, with his temporary or parent club, then this is his best opportunity to showcase his abilities for a potential suitor.