U.S. national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann may not bow to pressure from fans and the media.
At least for now.
[ MORE: How will USMNT line up? ]
Christian Pulisic, 17, became the youngest goalscorer in U.S. World Cup qualifying history last Friday as he jumped off the bench to score twice against St. Vincent and the Grenadines in a 6-0 thrashing.
The Borussia Dortmund attacking midfielder, born and raised in Hershey, Pennsylvania, was also he subject of intense transfer speculation at the end of the summer window with Liverpool, Red Bull Leipzig, Stoke City and others all linked with a move for the USMNT’s latest teenage star.
Speaking to reporters on Monday in Jacksonville ahead of their CONCACAF fourth-round 2018 World Cup qualifying game against Trinidad & Tobago, Klinsmann was preaching patience when it comes to Pulisic.
“It’s important to kind of give younger players time and have that patience,” Klinsmann said, according to the Associated Press. “And when moments are there to give them the minutes or the start, it’s not an issue. We just need to make sure it all kind of comes at the right time. We are all excited about a very special talent when it comes through there. He has a long, long ways to go, and hopefully he goes a long way for many, many years to come.”
Many are calling for Pulisic to start against T&T on Tuesday, with the U.S. needing just a point to seal qualification to the Hexagonal, the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 World Cup. Realistically, even if they lose they are through with a crazy 13-goal swing needed if they lose to T&T and Guatemala beat SVG in the other Group C encounter. It’s not inconceivable but certainly very, very unlikely to happen.
That is why Klinsmann should start Pulisic. He deserves to on merit too. Against SVG he looked superb when he came on and even if Klinsmann is trying to edge Pulisic into the team gently, his quality is there for all to see. Around the U.S. national team camp everyone has high hopes for this kid.
The U.S. is doing the right thing by wrapping yet another teen star in cotton wool but at this age Pulisic has plenty more promise than the likes of Juan Agudelo, Julian Green and even Freddy Adu before him.
In truth the Pulisic hype-train left the station a long time ago. Now seems like the right time to let him loose but it doesn’t appear as though Klinsmann will. Time will tell if that will be a wise decisions.