Hometown hero Christian Pulisic grew up right in my neck of the woods near Hershey, Pennsylvania. As a young teen, Pulisic played for a third party academy team in PA Classics, battling against the best of the best in his age group for many years. His successes there have led him to where he is now, a mere few months away from his Premier League debut.
Christian Pulisic by nature is a wide midfielder. Pulisic finds himself predominantly on the wings when playing for Borussia Dortmund, however, he has also featured in the number 10 role, particularly for his country. Due to his age and attacking abilities, Pulisic can be effective in many attacking positions. Just 20 years old, Pulisic portrays a mentally strong character, emphasized by his ability to perform under pressure.
Pulisic’s biggest individual asset is his blistering pace, particularly in the acceleration phase. Pulisic uses his speed from the offset effectively to glide past defenders, and deliver his final ball/shot once he has gained a yard or two past the defender. Regarding what type of midfielder he is, he seems to set up more as a “winger.” Someone who stays out wide, hugs the touchline, and creates space adequately for himself to allow himself to drive 1v1 against defenders, and also space for his teammates to operate in.
As far as his playing style, his greatest asset to Sarri’s system will be his low-driven crosses. As a right-footed right winger, Pulisic will want to drive the ball all the way to the goal line and find a low cutback ball to a striker like Giroud, Higuain, or Tammy Abraham. These are very important, as one of the largest components of the Sarriball Napoli team were these low driven crosses to the penalty spot. Christian is also very good at opening up space in the final third, drawing defenders towards him and finding the space in between to make a pass, or a dangerous cross, something that our players on the right side struggled a lot with this season.
In February 2015, just after having penned a deal with German powerhouse Borussia Dortmund, Pulisic was asked to join the U-17 squad. However, he smashed 10 goals and created eight more in just 15 appearances, thereby earning himself a first-team call-up. Aged just 17 years and 212 days, the forward became the youngest non-German and fourth-youngest player to score a goal in the Bundesliga. All in all, for BVB, he has 15 goals and 18 assists to his name.
On the club stage at Dortmund he has performed remarkable in cup competitions and Champions League matches. In a tie against Real Madrid, Pulisic was most definitely the most dangerous player on the German side. On the national team stage, Christian has had the weight of the United States on his shoulders since he was 17 and continues to improve, scoring 9 goals and marking 7 assists in just 23 appearances.
Whilst his numbers are not the best at first reading, and in no way is he a ‘Hazard Replacement’, we seem to forget a lot of the time how young he really is. Comparing both Hazard and Pulisic’s first 4000 professional minutes, they both scored 9 goals, and Pulisic had one more assist than Eden with 13. His potential is there.
Strengths & Weaknesses
Pulisic’s strengths come in abundance, many relevant to his age and current experience in the game. His fundamental strengths include his blistering pace, tactical and positional flexibility, ability to dribble the ball at speed, and a strong/determined mindset.
Like any player, especially one as young as Christian, weaknesses are apparent in his game. Fundamental things for Pulisic to work on would be his final delivery, movement off the ball, and perhaps his strength.
Chelsea have purchased him for a price of around $73M (64 million Euros), which more than triples the highest transfer sum for an American player, and at the time made him the 26th most expensive transfer in history. He will join up with the Chelsea squad come pre-season. Chelsea’s Marina Granovskaia had this to say when the deal was completed:
“Christian has shown his quality during a fantastic spell in Germany and at just 20, we believe he has the potential to become an important Chelsea player for many years to come. We look forward to welcoming him to Stamford Bridge in the summer and wish him and Dortmund every success for the remainder of the season.”
Be on the lookout for Pulisic performing with the United States Men’s National Team this summer at the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup. He has the confidence to succeed and the support of an entire nation and us Blues behind him. Back him guys, we got a good one.
Written by @liamhungate11. Contributions made by @maccasport.