After initially struggling to establish himself at Chelsea following his arrival from Borussia Dortmund, Christian Pulisic has burst into life at the west London club. A hat-trick against Burnley in October seemed to reignite the spark that defined the American’s dazzling performances in the Bundesliga, and since then he has bagged goals against Watford and Crystal Palace. He has helped Chelsea consolidate their position in the top four of the table which makes them strong favourites in the latest football odds to qualify for the Champions League next season.
He has begun to feel right at home in Chelsea’s youthful team, his skilful flair and trickery working in perfect harmony with fellow forward players Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham. Question marks had been raised over whether Pulisic had the mentality to be successful in the Premier League, but he has silenced those critics in recent weeks.
The Lampard factor
At the beginning of the season, Pulisic found himself either on the bench or out of the squad altogether. It seemed odd that Head Coach Frank Lampard was leaving him out, especially as the club had spent big money to bring him in.
But while Lampard’s early days at the club were a little bit up and down, his decisions have ultimately proved to be the correct ones. It’s clear that Pulisic needed time to adapt to his new surroundings, and Lampard’s strategy of bedding him in has paid dividends.
Many questioned the Chelsea manager’s policy of favouring youth over experience in the starting 11, but the team’s form has proved Lampard right. He has brought a feeling of invigoration among supporters with the way he has promoted young players, and even though Pulisic has more top-level experience than the likes of Mount and Abraham, he still contributes to the youthful exuberance of this Chelsea attack.
Weight of a nation
Pulisic is arguably the best talent the USA has ever produced. Throughout his professional career so far, he has had to carry the weight of expectation associated with being his country’s star player. He is the poster boy for the US national team and had to bear a lot of the criticism when the side failed to reach the 2018 World Cup finals.
This is a lot for a 21-year-old to take. USA sports fans take great pride in their country’s sporting achievements on the world stage, so there is pressure on Pulisic every time he takes to the field for his country. Not only that, but there is constant comment and analysis on his performances for Chelsea back in the US, so he is under much closer scrutiny than other players his age.
Of course, the nature of Pulisic’s fame in the USA and his £58 million price tag means it’s easy to forget that he is still a young player. He seems to have been around a long time, having signed for Dortmund when he was just 16. He took to the Bundesliga like a duck to water, and despite his young age racked up well over 100 appearances for the German club.
Pulisic still has a lot of developing to do, and that speaks of his immense talent. To be performing at such a high level at 21 shows that he has the potential to be a world beater. Having found his feet at Chelsea, there is little doubt that Pulisic will go from strength to strength and enjoy a stellar career. He is proving why he was so highly sought after and is one of the many magnificent young players Lampard has at his disposal.