Matt Miazga is hoping Christian Pulisic’s £58 million ($77m) move to Chelsea will inspire a generation of U.S. youngsters who will get to watch the 20-year-old become world class at Stamford Bridge.
Pulisic agreed his move to Chelsea in the January transfer window, but is finishing up the season at Borussia Dortmund before joining Miazga in west London.
Miazga, who is on loan at Reading from Chelsea for the rest of the season, will link up with Pulisic for the U.S. national team later this month after both players were called into the squad for games against Ecuador and Chile.
The defender is delighted to see Pulisic secure his move to the Premier League and he is confident his compatriot will be a big success at Chelsea.
"It is good [to see him join Chelsea]. He is a world-class talent," Miazga told Goal. "You saw at a young age what he can do in the Bundesliga. This season he has been injured a lot, so it has been difficult for him to kick on, but everyone knows the talent he possesses, he is a great player.
"He possesses a talent where he is very comfortable on the ball in tight space. You don't see that too often from American players, to have that level of technical ability and savviness in tight spaces to get in and out and create goalscoring opportunities.
"You can see from his play that he can create those goalscoring opportunities, and be a nuisance for a defender on the wing. He can isolate a defender and beat him one-on-one with speed and technique. Chelsea have added a great player, and I think he will add a lot, particularly beating players one-versus-one.
"He is a world-class player or on that trajectory. Next season I hope he can really kick on with Chelsea and showcase his talent and help the club. It is nice to see young American players playing in Europe. Particularly in the Bundesliga, Premier League, Dutch league and Championship.
"Making that move gives you confidence. You see a big club pay big money for an American player, it is good, it inspires young players in America to keep working and move forward. Hopefully, many people follow in his path.
"I haven't spoken to him. It happened in January. I hope we meet up in the national team and catch up about the move next week. I will answer any questions about what to expect. I have been around the first team for six-seven months, but he will be fine.
"Chelsea is one of the biggest clubs in the world. I remember as an American player, when I first got there, it was a big platform with a lot of media attention. I imagine for him, being a big-money player, he will get a lot of exposure and a lot of people watching.
"So, that's good, because it raises the awareness and popularity of the sport in America. We want to grow our country's game, get players playing, then moving to Europe to challenge themselves against the best players. That's what this new generation is doing."
Miazga is one of many Americans testing themselves in Europe after transfers at a young age. The former New York Red Bulls man joined Chelsea for £3.5 million as a 20-year-old in January 2016 and has subsequently had loan moves to Vitesse, Nantes and Reading, after a six-month spell with the Blues’ first team upon joining.
Pulisic went to Dortmund as a 16-year-old, and many USMNT youngsters are plying their trade in Europe, including Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams, Timothy Weah, Josh Sargent and John Brooks. Miazga wants to continue to see these moves for the best young players in his country to benefit a national team that was stunned not to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
"Our country is young in football terms," he added. "The MLS is young, started in '95. You see all these big leagues have been established for over 100 years. Everyone has their path, so it doesn't matter. My path, I was in America, grew up in America, developed in America. It was very good.
"I do see a lot of players who have good opportunities and can make the jump to Europe and test themselves. Come into deep water and get better. My path was different. I could have easily stayed in MLS, in my comfort zone, at my hometown club every year.
"Have this and that, be at home, be with my friends and play in the MLS. I have, in my humble opinion, big goals to try to get to the highest level of football. I knew that I had a year left on my contract at Red Bulls. There was pressure to sign a new one, but I said no.
"I want to see what options I get, what offers come. I had some offers, Chelsea came, and I went there. That's an opportunity you can't miss. I think it is about pushing yourself and if you get the chance to go to Europe, go to Europe.
"That's no disrespect to the standard of the MLS, but the best leagues are in Europe. They set the standard here. The best players are here. Everyone looks to Europe. We have a lot of talent to push themselves. That's even though the MLS is a great league for young players, I developed there in the MLS as a young player."
Miazga knows new USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter from playing his Columbus Crew team while in the MLS and he thinks his country is capable of winning the Gold Cup in the summer, as they try to rebuild with youth.
"He plays his style of football, possession-based, with an attacking approach. Creating chances, disorganising opponents. He is a good manager, I have already spoken to him a few times, he is detail orientated," he said, ahead of upcoming games against Ecuador and Chile.
"I think he is going to try to build a new culture in the national team. A good atmosphere to really grow this country because we have all the resources, all the talent to become a big country in world football. Hopefully, we can continue to build on that every year.
"I hope this will be a great appointment. Berhalter understands European football, and he has played in Europe for most of his career. He knows the ins and outs of European football. With his experience, hopefully, good times are ahead.
"We have players at big clubs in Europe, but the more players we have here playing consistent minutes, then we will be better off. European football sets the standard. We have a good mentality, a lot of talent in America. I encourage more players to leave their comfort zone, come to Europe and challenge themselves.
"Discomfort makes you grow. A lot of young players are doing that. We need to get more experience together, on the international stage and develop together. We have a lot of games coming up now, the Gold Cup in the summer. Hopefully, it is a good experience.
"We want to win that. We want to win every game. We will build a good atmosphere and culture in the squad and enjoy representing our country. That's the greatest honour, I think."