Christian Pulisic Growing in Role at Chelsea Says USMNT Coach

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When last we checked in with United States Men’s National Team Head Coach Gregg Berhalter, it was during last year’s Chicago Auto Show. Berhalter was appearing at the Volkswagen display on behalf of the then new partnership between US Soccer and the German auto maker.

We had an exclusive with Berhalter, shortly after Borussia Dortmund sold Christian Pulisic to Chelsea and the young winger was a focal point of our conversation. Berhalter saw the move to the EPL has a huge boost for Pulisic and he backed the Pennsylvania Messi to kick his career up a notch.

gregg berhalter

Coming out of the restart, it’s certainly come to fruition for the Hershey, PA native as Pulisic has been as productive and effective as pretty much anybody in the English top flight over the course of the last month.

“You see now that [Pulisic] was picking the ball up in space, in pockets and just being really aggressive going at defenders, dribbling defenders,” Berhalter said on a media zoom call today.

“It’s not just only on the sideline. Now he’s getting it towards the middle of the field and he’s had some really positive effects, taking players on.”

The USMNT Coach also discussed the change in how Pulisic’s teammates relate to him now. Pulisic has said that his arrival with the rest of the squad, one year ago this month, went pretty much unnoticed.

He felt invisible back then at first, but his teammates are really looking for him now.

Pulisic has been among the Blues best players in scoring or assisting per minutes played. He’s also been very effective and winning penalties to get goals.

“If you watch the games, you can see the dramatic shift and how [Pulisic’s] teammates relate to him now,” Berhalter said.

“They actually look to him. Whereas there were times in the beginning, when you’re thinking, ‘Wait, why aren’t they passing him this ball?’ Now they get the ball, their first glance is to him.”

“And you know he’s really grown to be an important part of this group, important part of that team, and it’s been fun to watch.”

It has been extremely fun to watch, because at Chelsea, Pulisic has had much more talent and efficiency around him than he has with the Stars and Stripes. And it appears there is more on the way this summer transfer window too.

Chelsea at Liverpool FYIs

Chelsea Team News: Go here

Chelsea starting XI prediction: go here

Liverpool Team News, Starting XI: go here

Kickoff: Wednesday 22 July 8:15pm BST, Anfield

Form Guide: Chelsea WLWWLW  Liverpool WLWWDL

Prediction: Liverpool 2, Chelsea 2

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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