Christian Pulisic has been in and out of the lineup during Chelsea’s holiday fixtures. He last featured in the New Year’s Day 1-1 draw with Brighton & Hove Albion, as he picked up an adductor injury afterwards in training.
As a new brand ambassador for Chipotle (ed.note: not as good as Freebirds!), Pulisic has been making media rounds, and in an ESPN interview he discussed his injury outlook.
“It’s been almost a week, and I’m just kind of taking it day by day. I’m just rehabbing every day. I’m doing my best to be back in the next week, the next couple weeks. I don’t think it should be too long, so I’m just working every day, doing everything I can to be back on the pitch.”
Those aren’t exactly confidence-inspiring words, especially when there are already questions being asked about his fitness in general, and how his body is adapting to the league. The Premier League has a reputation for being a physical league, one that takes a heavy toll on players’ bodies, especially during the busy festive period when most other leagues (including the Bundesliga) are on winter break.
Pulisic’s last year at Dortmund was already full of knocks and injuries that kept him out of the lineup for periods of time. So he’s trying his best to do all the right things to keep his still-developing body in good physical condition.
“You know, everyone says I’m going to go into the Premier League, it’s a big change, it’s tough. It’s a league where there’s definitely a lot of games, a lot of stuff going on, and it wasn’t easy for me at the beginning, of course. I think I’m really proud of how I pushed through things and then I got my opportunity, and I felt I was playing very well recently, and I’m proud. It’s been great. I’ve been enjoying it so much.
“Physically, I don’t think it’s anything crazy. It definitely is a tough league. There’s a lot of games, and it is physical at times, but I don’t think it’s impossible. But like I said, I’m doing my best, and I know I’m trying to get used to it and make sure that my body is ready for every game.
“I just think the wear it has on your body. I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is just making sure that you keep your body right, and you gotta really work on that because there’s so many games. There’s a lot of stuff involved. You’ve got to make sure that you’re healthy and ready to go all the time. I think it’s just going that extra mile for regeneration after games, doing the right things, eating right and just making sure that you’re ready to go.”
Managing his fitness and health will be important for the 21-year-old’s career. Pulisic is a player who’s seen plenty of minutes in top competitive matches already, so keeping his body well maintained to manage the rigors of the season is imperative.
Adaptation to England and the Premier League also stretches outward to life in a new country. Sometimes we, as fans take for granted the personal and social aspects of change players undergo.
For Pulisic, the move to Chelsea may have meant a move back to his native language, but it was still a completely new environment for him. Life in Dortmund is dramatically different than life in London, just by population size alone.
“I think just the soccer culture here is what I’ve noticed. It means so much to these people, just in the country in general, just how your team is doing, so I think that’s probably the biggest thing I’ve noticed. Not to say that’s the case in Dortmund because that was some of the most passionate fans I’ve ever seen, but just the culture of the whole country, what this game means even around the holidays. Everyone’s always talking about football. That’s definitely impressive.”
“People will recognize me. I play for Chelsea. Like I said, so many people watch it over here. And now I definitely get recognized walking around the city at times, but I’m not one to go walking around all the time. So I don’t know about feeling famous, but yeah, there’s definitely a lot of people that recognize me.”
- Christian Pulisic, source: ESPN
There is a bit more in his interview, including stuff about his “perfect” hat-trick against Burnley and his thoughts about the USMNT trying to recover from recent disappointments., so I highly recommend giving the rest of it a read-through as well.
And, most importantly, hopefully he’ll be back in just a couple weeks!