Christian Pulisic Makes First Chelsea FC Start; Showcases Stunning Skill Set

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Today you saw the inherent potential and special ability of Chelsea winger Christian Pulisic in action during the Blues’ 2-1 preseason win over FC Barcelona in Japan.

Pulisic made his first start in a blue shirt, played the first hour and again wore the No. 24 shirt. His official squad number for the upcoming season has still not been confirmed, but the 20-year-old but we do know that he won’t be inheriting Eden Hazard‘s No. 10 as another CFC winger, Willian, told Brazilian media that the number will be his this upcoming season.   

Showcasing his phenomenal pace and stellar playmaking creativity on the left flank, you can see why so many who are professionally close to Pulisic have been speaking so highly of him this summer. His national team coach, Gregg Berhalter, spoke of the Pennsylvania native “blossoming” in the Gold Cup tournament earlier this month.

Brian McBride, the fourth leading scorer in USMNT history, sees Pulisic as now having special opportunities at Chelsea that simply weren’t going to be there for him at Borussia Dortmund. And a couple of Pulisic’s former coaches at BVB, Lucien Favre and Jurgen Klopp, see him continuing to develop into a great, important player

Yes, the sky could be the limit for Pulisic, and watching him grow at Stamford Bridge should be a major highlight for Chelsea supporters this season.

Just don’t compare him to Eden Hazard, cuz he doesn’t care for those analogies.

With the club under a transfer ban, Pulisic (who arrived in January, but was immediately loaned back to Dortmund) is essentially their only real major addition this off-season.

Despite joining up with the team late, he will be in contention to start the Premier League season opener at Manchester United. Chelsea, having completed their preseason tour of Japan, will now return home to England for their next exhibition friendly Reading.

Then they will play two more preseason tune-ups on the road, versus Red Bull Salzburg and Borussia Monchengladbach. It could be a rough season for Chelsea, as they adjust to a new leader (yet again) and a new system, and also to life after Eden Hazard.

However, watching Pulisic develop into all that he can be will be interesting and exciting.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No,  I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link.

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