Christian Pulisic has not featured in back-to-back games, since he started four games in a row before the September international break, and that’s lead to plenty of hot-takes in punditry and headline-writing about him. After all, Chelsea spent huge on the kid from Hershey, PA, who has not only those expectations to deal with, but the attentions of an entire soccering nation from across the pond.
But the 21-year-old isn’t letting that get to him. In a semi-awkward interview with Balkan sports outlet SportKlub, who press him hard on his Croatian heritage (by way of his grandfather), lack of Croatian language skills, and the Americanized pronunciation of his last name (with a hard ‘s’ and hard ‘k’), Pulisic says he’s not feeling any of that pressure and is just concentrating on his club football.
“No [pressure], not for me, not when I’m playing here. Obviously, I’m very proud to be American and represent them as part of the national team as well. But when I play here, I just try to help the team win in any way I can, and that’s all I want to do.”
Pulisic’s first start for Chelsea came against Liverpool in the Super Cup last month, which Chelsea almost won against all expectations, and he could be in line for a repeat of that tomorrow, when the Reds come to Stamford Bridge for a Super Sunday showdown. Pulisic, who set up a goal and had a goal of his own narrowly ruled out by an offside while deployed on the left wing, is targeting a win this time.
“It’s going to be a great game on the weekend. We’re really excited. It’s cool to go up against Kloppo again.
“They’re a very dangerous team. The Super Cup against them was a very exciting game, and we had our chances. I felt we could’ve won the game, but we got a bit unlucky in the end. We’re really happy that we get a chance to go at them again, and obviously we want to take three points this time.”
Pulisic briefly trained under Jürgen “Kloppo” Klopp while he was still at Borussia Dortmund, but is now taking his instructions from Frank Lampard and looking to carve out a role for himself in Chelsea’s youth revolution.
“It’s been great having Frank Lampard with us as a coach. He knows so much about the game. It’s exciting times.
“It’s a great time right now. There’s a lot of young players and it’s been really fun working with them. We try to bring a lot of energy. There’s a lot of talent. And then you have guys like Kova. He brings a lot of experience and he’s a great player as well. So it’s been a good mix. Things are looking very good.”
-Christian Pulisic; source: SportKlub
As with the team overall, some patience is required of Christian Pulisic. After all, he literally just turned 21, which makes him even younger than Tammy Abraham or Fikayo Tomori. But if we play our cards right, we could be building something special and sustainable for the foreseeable future, and Pulisic could be an important part of that indeed.
But first, Liverpool!