Frank Lampard Spotlights Differences Between Christian Pulisic and Eden Hazard

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Chelsea manager Frank Lampard, who is also the club’s all time leading scorer, says that Christian Pulisic plays football with a more direct style than his predecessor on the flank, Eden Hazard.

Ever since Pulisic was acquired from Borussia Dortmund and Hazard left for Real Madrid the two wide attacking players have drawn comparisons. Both players have shied away from those comps, as has Lampard, but in recent days the analogy has come back strong, among both media pundits and social media users.

With Pulisic being on an absolute tear since the Premier League restarted, his fine form has invited the “he’s replacing Hazard” narrative.

Especially when you consider that the Pennsylvanian Messi’s first season at Stamford Bridge compares very well statistically with Hazard’s debut campaign in southwest London.

However, most will agree that he still has has a ways to go in order to match the level of the Belgian  superstar, who won the PFA and Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year awards in 2014-15.

“Having played with Eden and seen him come to the club at a relatively young age, similar to Christian, we saw the development of him,” said Lampard, who was teammates with Hazard in 2012-13 and 2013-14.

“He had a special talent straight away of being able to receive a ball and have great balance and go past players so well.”

“He would almost draw a lot of players towards him to open up space for others.”

“He was pretty unselfish in how he would make assists.”

Lampard then spotlighted the differences in how the two forwards approach the game.

“I think Christian is possibly more direct in his style sometimes, in terms of how he goes past players and runs off the ball, which I like,” Lampard continued, in his press conference ahead of the 3-2 win at Crystal Palace on Tuesday.

“Eden would come and get the ball and take it past players a lot. With Christian, sometimes I think he has the ability to break the line and run forward, which is a really great trait in the modern game.”

“In terms of the comparison, which is why I stayed away from it a bit the other night, Eden has been here and done it and did it to an incredible level. Christian has it in his hands to make a real impact over a long period of time.”

While Hazard has struggled with injuries this season in Madrid, Pulisic has been arguably the best player in the Premier League since the restart.

He’s combined with Willian to make the wings the strongest position group at Chelsea right now.

“The thing I’m so happy with now is when we’re playing teams and the games are tough and you’re finding it hard to break teams down, he’s taking responsibility to change that, to change it in moments by using his ability to turn quickly and go past people,” Lampard added.

He then praised the 21-year-old American international while also indicating that his ceiling has not yet been reached.

“It’s been great to see and, as I keep saying, there’s a lot of development to come for Christian. I’m very happy with him.”

eden hazard chelsea

Up next for Lampard, Pulisic and Chelsea is a trip to Bramall Lane, for a Saturday league fixture at Sheffield United.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, 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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