Frank Lampard has insisted that he wants to see more from Christian Pulisic in training before he hands the winger a regular starting role in his plans at Chelsea, as quoted by the Metro.
Pulisic has featured six times for the Blues across all competitions (TransferMarkt) since he joined the West London outfit on a £145,000-a-week, five-and-a-half-year (Spotrac) contract, as part of the £58million deal (BBC) which lured him away from Borussia Dortmund in January but saw that he remained in Germany until the summer on loan.
Lampard is insistent that Pulisic can succeed in the Premier League, having awarded the 21-year-old American three starts in the English top-flight so far following his arrival at Stamford Bridge.
But the 32-cap USMNT international has not featured in either of the Blues’ last two league encounters or in the Champions League clash with Valencia CF, and was resigned to playing with a vastly altered squad in the Carabao Cup as the West Londoners demolished Grimsby Town 7-1 on Wednesday night to book a Fourth Round date with Manchester United.
It was against the Red Devils that Pulisic made his debut in England when he entered the action at Old Trafford from the bench as a substitute, and he looks set for a similar role when Chelsea host Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday as Lampard has called for the winger to show more in training to deserve a starting place.
“I’ve got four wingers to choose from, now they are all fit,” Lampard told reporters at his pre-Seagulls press conference on Friday.
“Christian, I think we all forget, has just turned 21, because of the price tag, because he came through at a very young age. It’s very normal to expect there to be an adaptation period and that’s what he’s in.
“He’s showed some really good moments in pre-season, some good moments at the start of the season. But what he has to do, as all the players not just the wingers, is reach levels in training daily when there’s competition in the squad that make you sit up and go, ‘here’s my team selection and that’s actually affected it by seeing good stuff.”
Pulisic is facing competition from Willian, Pedro and a fit-again Callum Hudson-Odoi, who likewise featured against Grimsby during the week in what was the London-born teenager’s season debut following an Achilles tendon rupture sustained against Burnley in April.
Lampard’s comments on Pulisic needing to show more in training is a rather damning indictment of the American, as it paints the picture of the 21-year-old not impressing as much as the likes of of Willian and Pedro outside of competitive game time.
That said, it could also just be a case of the former Dortmund man still adjusting to how Lampard would like Chelsea to play under his tenure, and that players like Willian and Pedro, and potentially Hudson-Odoi, have picked up on his tactics far quicker.
If Pulisic is still struggling to become a regular starter once 2019 is over, and Lampard is having doubts over his performance in training, the Blues boss may then need to see what is causing him to struggle to adapt – it is not an issue that should cause concern just yet.
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