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Lille manager Fonseca hints at Tim Weah’s continued full back role


French Ligue 1 side Lille is without its two starting left backs for the near future, but manager Paulo Fonseca isn’t worried about who he will call on to fill the void.

Timothy Weah looks set to start at left back for Lille ahead of Tuesday’s Coupe De France trip to Lyon, Fonseca hinted at in his pre-match press conference. The U.S. men’s national team attacker has made four of his 15 combined appearances this season at either left back or right back, showing off his versatility for Lille.

The recent injury to Brazilian fullback Ismaily and the continued absence of Gabriel Gudmundsson means the 22-year-old Weah will need to be ready for wherever Fonseca decides to use him, but the Portuguese manager has continued confidence in Weah to deliver in a major situation.

“We must continue as we play,” Fonseca said Monday. “Ismaily is injured, but we have the opportunity to play with Tim [Weah], who is a good solution. When we have time, we work. But this week was difficult because we don’t have time. I think Tim played very well. Ok, it’s different from Bafodé [Diakité, right back], because on the left we have the higher full-back, but defensively it’s the same thing. Like the other games, against Rennes, he played very well and I have confidence in Tim.”

Weah is still searching for his first goal of the season for Lille, which is currently in seventh place in Ligue 1 and in the final 16 of the Coupe De France. Weah excelled for the USMNT at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, scoring against Wales and also starting in all four of his appearances.

Lille will be hoping that Weah can fill the void for the near future as the French clubs seeks a surge up the league standings, as well as advancement to the Coupe De France quarterfinals.


  1. i hope this does not turn into more “club form” follow the leader crap. a talented wing being forced to play back is probably just fine as our wing when he comes back. i personally think we are hiring a coach and paying him money for his own opinion, and to see lasting talent, and not to just xerox club coaches’ opinions or play guys perceived to be on a streak. i don’t think this has to change our opinion or usage of him whatsoever. not unless we just want to hand lille’s coach that much power over how we manage.

    • “a talented wing being forced to play back is probably just fine as our wing”

      That’s pretty melodramatic.

      What did Fonseca do, steal Timo’s dog and threaten to kill the dog if Timo didn’t play full back?

      You’re portraying Timo as some hapless victim, poor guy when you could look at it as Fonseca saying, “we have better wingers than you but we need help at full back. Do that and maybe you can stay in the starting lineup ; otherwise you don’t play..”

      Fonseca is giving him a chance to show his stuff.

      What’s Timo supposed to do, call the President of Liberia and have him threaten to declare war on France?

      • he’s filling a hole to complete a lineup not giving him his chance to shine or providing him a platform. based on usage i doubt he set out to showcase weah. if it was his chance to shine this would have taken place when they already had LB.

        to be fair, i got subbed on game 2 garbage time in college and nearly helped us come back, and was a starter by game 3. in some sort of self help way, one can tell themselves it’s their chance. sometimes that is true, though to be real i thought i was better than the starter the day i showed up. i doubt weah was hounding the coach to make him a LB and put him out there.

        anyways, my real point was we always have a choice here. we can follow the lille coach. we can believe he has better use elsewhere. i find it lazy that lately we often just track the club coaches. club coaches get fired often. club streaks often don’t carry over to NT.
        how about have your own opinion.

        like i said below, my personal experience, i could play back for one team and wing for another and give or take some mentality adjustments or needing to work on certain skills more for one place or the other, it’s not dramatically different high or low on a wing. it’s just different emphasis. push someone central in the mixer or back to goal at 9, that’s a truly different kettle of fish how to play soccer, that’s tight spaces, someone banging into you, etc. i don’t believe LB vs RB matters for athletes, and i don’t believe wing vs wingback is that hard a change. i kind of enjoyed getting to play some offense.

      • Mr Voice,

        “he’s filling a hole to complete a lineup not giving him his chance to shine or providing him a platform.”

        What a crock.
        It doesn’t matter WHY a manager gives you playing time.

        What matter is he gives you playing time.

        It’s up to you to make something out of it.

        If he, or the fans think you’re shit, it’s hard to prove them wrong sitting on the bench.

        Maybe you think Weah ought to wait around for Fonseca to come to his senses and apologize to Timo for not noticing what a great player Timo is.

        That’s how privileged, entitled, types think.

        If so Timmy could be waiting a very long time.

        Tough, hard working guys , like Timo, take Fonseca’s behavior for what it is, an opportunity.

        Timo, whose career had been sabotaged more than anything by injury knows not to waste an opportunity sticking his nose up in the air like you do.

        He’s taking this “insult” and trying to make something of it.

  2. Seems like he may be more suited as a defender. He isn’t really prolific with goals and assists as an attacker. Well most of The USMNT attackers haven’t really been prolific. Anyways good to see Weah getting starts for Lille be it in defense or at attack.

  3. Interesting. I don’t think him playing wingback for Lille will hold him back if we want to use him in a more attacking role for USMNT. If it was the other way around I’d be more worried. At least I hope so because the US attack has been fairly poor when he isn’t involved over the last two years.

    • we have plentiful history of wings converted into backs, albright, hedjuk, beasley. the skill sets overlap. an athlete with both foot speed is of general utility, and someone who can both create and defend could probably play either end decently, though one may be a particular strength. i would play wing in select then wingback in HS, or both in college, as well as some DM. the people who in my opinion shouldn’t be making the swap aren’t so much weah’s skillset as eddie lewis’ — slow, technical. ironically there is a whole line of obsession with technical backs like that, which i think stems from snobs wishing backs were smoother on the ball ignoring they are out there to stop people, and will get exposed for not being suited to do it. along those lines, i bet you some hustle favorites like arriola and morris would be just fine wingbacks, as they are sloppy finishers but dogged industrialists. ironically, jedi and dest should IMO probably be forwards, as their skill sets are mostly offensive and their propensities are to cheat up. and i have criticized GB for oddly emphasizing hustling wings but attacking wingbacks, which strikes me a contradiction.

      i digress. my personal experience switching back and forth, you may have some growing pains in initial games of transition but they are doable. a player attacking more might need a little crossing and shooting refresher. a player defending more may need some rewiring to take fewer risks. few games and you’ll get back riding your bicycle fine.

      americans have a weird obsession with pigeonholing players. i think players like weston could play a variety of places. over the years i played everything including forward and goalie. i think to be a true success you have to master each position — weston’s weakness — but if you enjoy the wing and can attack and mark, i think you could do both fine. and from my experience give or take the odd glitch switching teams, you don’t even have to play the same position for each. not if you’re an athlete. now reyna couldn’t also be a marking back but then his skill set swaps to inside work.

      • You remind me of Gregg.

        You think more about the position than you think about the player who is actually playing it.

        You think in terms of fullbacks, wingers or wingbacks , etc.,when what you should think about is soccer players.

        Is my (winger/wingback/fullback, etc. a good soccer player? A fundamentally sound player?

        Paul Ariolla is not a good international level soccer player no matter where you try and hide him. The ball does not love him and everyone knows it. He started at Couva and, so far, that sums up his international career.

        Watch Wayne Rooney sometime. When he was in his prime, he was a better offensive player than most and a better defensive player than most. He was a better goal keeper than most.

        Most teams , if they had 11 Rooneys would be pretty well off.

        Almost every national team has to play at least one if not more players “out of position”. But it’s okay as the norm in international football.

        1. It’s your country and you are supposed to be willing to suffer a little for your country.
        2. It’s usually temporary, although Ruud Gullitt, an all time Dutch great, wrote in his biography that he never once felt comfortable playing for the national team. Well, 66 caps and 17 goals and one Euro championship ( Holland’s only major trophy ever) suggest he wasn’t too bad at it.

        If Timo Weah is playing regularly for our 2026 WC team I don’t think he will care where’s he’s played as long as he plays.

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