For those Fulham fans who solely follow the first-team, the name Jean-Pierre Tiéhi might not mean much right now, but it’s certainly one they could hear in the near future.
Aged 19, the striker is currently with the club’s U23s, where he features on a regular basis in the Premier League 2, scoring eight goals in 16 appearances as well as picking up an assist.
This form has certainly gone a long way in getting him noticed at the club, who were quick to jump on the opportunity to sign him in 2018 from Le Havre’s youth system.
Interviewed by We Sport in France, the young striker was asked about this decision to swap France for England, and whether it was a difficult one.
He said: “Yes, of course, but I think it’s one that needs to be done. You shouldn’t be scared to take risks. Football is a risk sport, and I told myself the project was there and the choice was quickly done, in the sense that in my head I wanted to play in England. So Fulham was ideal, the club gave me its trust, I spoke to the manager and the board before. It wasn’t a difficult choice, really.
“It’s a club I knew from the past, and I saw there was an opportunity for me to go to this team so I wasn’t afraid of the risk. Maybe I was a bit naive to tell myself that, but at that point, I didn’t think about it. I just took the pen and signed. Without regret”.
Fulham had been after him since he was 13 or 14, as per the player himself, and he explained that ‘when they saw I didn’t sign with Le Havre, they saw the opportunity’.
Choosing the Cottagers as a ‘strategic choice’, hinting he saw a clearer route to the first-team, Tiéhi adapted rather quickly thanks to some French speaking professional members, and is now with the U23s after two years with the U18s.
He’s just one step away from Scott Parker’s squad, which he describes as a ‘dream’, as that would mean he would get to play in the Premier League.
Tiéhi finished the interview by saying: “The goal is to start to shine at the top level. It’s the objective I’ve set myself, to reach it this season if possible. I’ve already trained with the first-team. Nothing is done, but I’m working hard for that, it’s the aim. I really have to reach it next year if I want to become what I aspire to become”.