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‘Pulisic is perfect fit for Chelsea model’ – USMNT boss points out Griezmann & Hazard have struggled too

10:37 EAT 25/10/2019
Christian Pulisic Chelsea 2019-20
Gregg Berhalter has seen a talismanic presence in his squad endure some difficulties in new surroundings, but he is far from being the only one

Christian Pulisic “fits perfectly” into new-look Chelsea, says United States national team coach Gregg Berhalter, with the 21-year-old seeing Antoine Griezmann and Eden Hazard held up as other examples of how adjusting to new surroundings is never easy.

The highly-rated playmaker arrived in west London over the summer after seeing a transfer agreement reached in January pushed through.

He traded life in Germany with Borussia Dortmund for that in the Premier League and has found the transition from one leading European division to another a little testing at times.

Positive contributions have, however, been made off the bench in recent domestic and Champions League outings, with Frank Lampard talking up the potential of a player that Chelsea retain full faith in.

The Blues are placing considerable trust in youth this season, with the club starting to build long-term, and Berhalter believes Pulisic will have a big part to play in that project.

He told The Guardian after seeing the USA international in European action against Ajax: “There’s a lot of pressure that he’s under. He’s at a big club.

"What I really like about where he is right now is that there’s a lot of young players. There’s a manager who is a manager who is used to working with young players, has that philosophy who wants to build this club with this group of talent, and he fits perfectly into that mould.

“I think Frank Lampard has been trying to say: 'the outside stuff is not real, it’s really not' – when you analyse the transfer fee, when you analyse who he’s replacing, when you analyse he’s the only guy they bought.

“That’s not real. What’s real is this kid is in the Premier League, trying to make his name, trying to perform. That’s the only thing that counts."

Pulisic was hailed as the natural heir to Hazard when arriving at Chelsea, with a Belgian talisman having departed for Real Madrid.

He has not burst out of the blocks in Spain, while World Cup winning-forward Griezmann has also taken time to find his feet after swapping Atletico Madrid for Barcelona.

Berhalter believes that should offer encouragement to Pulisic, adding: "Let’s not forget that he’s not the only player in the world who has had a challenge adapting at the beginning of a move.

"Look at Griezmann in Barcelona, Hazard in Real Madrid.

“These are top, top players. [Mohamed] Salah and [Kevin] De Bruyne at Chelsea, of course. The list goes on and on. Because he was the only transfer this year, a lot of attention is placed on him.”