With Time Christian Pulisic Will Break into Chelsea Squad

Christian Pulisic

Since arriving at Chelsea, Frank Lampard has given the youth of the club their chance to shine. A number of Chelsea academy graduates that lack Premier League experience have been standout performers for this new, youthful-looking side. However, one player that is yet to win his place in the team is 21-year-old, club-record signing Christian Pulisic.

The United States captain made a name for himself whilst playing for Borussia Dortmund, with Chelsea opting to spend £57.6 million to bring him to London. Pulisic is yet to earn his fair share of game time, and just two months into the season, some are suggesting that Pulisic needs to leave the Blues on loan once the next transfer window opens to play more minutes. However, having not long arrived in England, it’s far too early to assume that his lack of game time is a problem.

The Rise of Christian Pulisic

Christian Pulisic was born in 1998 in the state of Pennsylvania. He has lived in the USA for most of his life but spent a year living in the UK at age seven where he played for the youth side of Brackley Town. Having performed to a high standard in his homeland at youth level, he moved to Europe to join one of Germany’s most famous clubs, Borussia Dortmund, in February of 2015. It didn’t take him long to break into the first-team.

The 2016/17 campaign was when Pulisic became a regular part of the team in North Rhine-Westphalia. The American was a key player for Dortmund and by the 2018/19 season, it was clear that a bigger team would come calling sooner or later. That team would be five-time Premier League champions, Chelsea. The west London outfit would announce the signing in early January 2019, with Pulisic immediately joining Chelsea but remaining at Dortmund until the end of the season on a loan deal.

As for his international career, Pulisic was illegible to represent either the United States, the nation where he was born and raised, or Croatia, where his grandfather was from. Croatia are probably considered the better team, but it was always the attacker’s desire to play for the USA. He made his debut aged just 17, and at the moment has a total of 33 caps to his name (including friendly matches); a very impressive record for a player of his age.

What’s Going on at Chelsea?

Despite his age, Christian Pulisic arrived at Chelsea with experience and a reputation. He has made seven appearances for his new club so far in the 2019/20 season. Manager Frank Lampard, though, has selected other players who play in Pulisic’s favoured positions of right-wing or centre attacking midfield. Pulisic started four of Chelsea’s five matches in August but has played just twice since then, which has sparked discussion.

To start with, it would be no surprise if it took a little bit of time and hard-fought performances to adapt to the style and pace of the Premier League. Even a player of his quality may get some consistent game time before settling. Perhaps the best strength to Pulisic’s game is his dribbling, which he showed in Germany and glimpses of in England. On average last season Pulisic completed 2.7 successful dribbles in the Champions League, and 4.2 the season before. He’s also a decent finisher, but his biggest problem, at least for the moment, would have to be the competition he faces for a starting spot.

On the right-hand side of the wing, he is up against Willian and Pedro, who have spent a combined ten years at Chelsea. As for the attacking midfield area, that’s also a popular position in west London. 20-year-old Mason Mount has occupied this spot all season and is rated highly by the gaffer and fans, having scored four and assisted one in what are his first steps in England’s top flight. As well as Mount there is Mateo Kovačić, Ross Barkley and the injured Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Timing has been unfortunate for Pulisic, but competition could really bring the best out of him. He is Chelsea’s leading assist maker despite playing a considerably less amount of minutes than some of his teammates.

Pulisic’s Take on the Situation

Pulisic’s performances for Chelsea have been positive, as has his attitude, which is important for a player of his age and quality. Having returned to the States for this month’s international break, the subject of game time has popped up a little. However, Pulisic doesn’t seem fazed at all and remains focused.

Speaking to ESPN on Wednesday, he said: “I feel the best I ever have. I feel very confident in my game. I’m not going to let any of that affect me. I feel very strong.”

Assuring words from the US fan favourite. An outstanding talent, it will still take a lot of hard graft before he wins his place in this competitive Chelsea squad. He is showing the right mentality and is on his way to break into the starting eleven. With Chelsea having both league and European matches to balance, as well as the occasional cup tie, rotation will be key for Frank Lampard’s men. Pulisic captained his nation to a 7-0 win over Cuba on Friday, featuring on the scoresheet, and will play Canada in the coming days.

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