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Pulisic gushes about Frank Lampard, playing in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

And (not) speaking in Zlatan!

Chelsea FC v Leicester City - Premier League Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

Christian Pulisic is with the U.S. national team for two upcoming friendlies against Mexico and Uruguay. Expectations are at an all time high for the young 20-year-old to live up to his £58 million transfer, not only at Chelsea, but also at an ever-changing national team, which continues to search for youth to step up to the senior team. It’s a massive challenge, and an even bigger opportunity, though one not entirely unfamiliar to the young man from Hershey, PA.

Still, he’s not letting any of that get to his head. With the upcoming match against Mexico this Friday, Pulisic was asked whether he or Mexico superster Hirving “Chucky” Lozano, now at Napoli, was the better player.

“I’m not going to give you like an Ibra answer here. I’ll never be comfortable. I don’t like being in front of cameras, I’m still getting used to it, I guess.”

Pulisic is modest and a bit more introverted than your typical modern footballer. He’s also media-savvy enough to not be baited into an answer which would be taken out of context. Instead, he’s taken the road less travelled by Zlatan.

Pulisic has only been with Chelsea for a few months, but he’s been able to nail down a starting role under Frank Lampard already. Coming from Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga, getting acclimated to the speed and intensity of the EPL would be a challenge for any footballer, but the 20-year-old is proving to be a quick learner.

Through five competitive matches, he’s yet to find the back of the net, seeing one effort ruled out by a marginal offside call, however he has provided a positive influence with his build-up play in creating chances. Despite Chelsea’s relatively slow start, Lampard has shown confidence in Pulisic, starting him in the last three Premier League matches.

“It’s amazing. I mean, it’s everything I hoped it would be and more. It’s incredible,

“It worked out really well, for sure. Frank’s a great guy and he’s helped me so much and he understands where I’m coming from and he’s done a really good job and helped me, teaching us, especially a lot of the younger guys on the team.”

On the national team front, Pulisic’s facing a similar challenge. The U.S. failed to qualify for the last two Olympics, and then compounded with that by failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. Pulisic seems eager to break that pattern, and help the USMNT compete amongst the world’s best in meaningful tournaments, be that a World Cup, a Gold Cup, or the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

“I would never completely count that out because it’s a huge honor to play for your country in the Olympics. A lot of factors come into play, I guess, but we’ll see.”

“We’re a confident young group of guys and I think there’s no reason why we couldn’t. We set big goals for ourselves and, yeah, that would be one of them. That would be something I think we could do.”

-Christian Pulisic, Source: Associated Press

Indeed, a lot of factors would need to come into play for Pulisic to see this Olympic dream come true. Clubs are not required to release players for the Olympics or for the qualifying matches. Those qualifying matches are scheduled for March 20 to April 1 of next year. As things stand, if Pulisic were to be involved in these, he would miss the Manchester City home game on March 21, before the final international break of the season. The Olympic tournament itself runs from July 23 to August 8. If Pulisic were to be involved, he would likely miss out on a crucial part of preseason and potentially the first week of the new season.

In any case, good luck to Pulisic in the upcoming friendlies. Please come back healthy.

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