Chelsea Handling of Christian Pulisic Draws Praise from Brian McBride


The last time we had an exclusive with Brian McBride, he was working primarily as a television pundit, and the interview was conducted ahead of the 2019 Gold Cup Final in Chicago.

We discussed various topics, including the USMNT, Christian Pulisic, Chelsea and the Chicago Fire. The fifth all-time leading scorer in USA Soccer history and Arlington Heights, Illinois native said then that he saw opportunities for Christian Pulisic at Stamford Bridge that probably would not have materialized, had he stayed at Borussia Dortmund.

McBride, 47, was named General Manager of US Soccer in January, and this week he joined “Mike’d Up,” Chelsea’s official podcast for the American audience. The former Fulham two time player of the year said he was pleased to see how Blues boss Frank Lampard brought Pulisic along.

“I think that’s the good thing about having a manager who has played the game at such a high level, because Frank was very patient with Christian at the beginning,” McBride said.

“Christian’s moved over to a new country, joined a new team and had to establish himself in a new league. There could have been the pressure there on him to deliver straightaway but Frank understood that he needed to have time to adapt.”

“So, from a US national team perspective, that was really nice to see. We don’t know what was happening behind-the-scenes at the club and how hands on that would have been, but it allowed time for Christian to settle in, adapt and integrate into the team.”

brian mcbride

Pulisic, the most expensive American footballer in history, didn’t get into Lampard’s team right away. He truly earned his stripes, and made the most of opportunities when afforded. It wasn’t long until he starting producing with regularity, until a nasty adductor injury derailed his season.

On the comeback trail, the Hershey, Pennsylvania native suffered a relapse, and he hasn’t featured since New Year’s Day. However, he’s fully fit now and raring to go once Project Restart takes full effect.

McBride continued: “He was then able to understand how both Chelsea and Frank wanted him to play.”

‘Then when the time was right, Frank really let Christian loose and you could see before the injury he was really sharp, he was quick on his heels and he was hurting opposition.”

Pulisic and Chelsea could see their season restart again in mid to late June.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports, which is partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly contributes to WGN TVSports IllustratedChicago Now and SB Nation.

You can follow Banks, a former writer for Chicago Tribune.comon Twitter and his cat on Instagram.

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