GENK, Belgium — Christian Pulisic became the youngest captain of the U.S. men’s national team in the modern era on Tuesday, as the Borussia Dortmund star led the side out against Italy in Genk, Belgium.
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Remember: Pulisic is just 20 years and 63 days old.
The USMNT lost 1-0 to Italy, as they conceded a 94th minute goal after soaking up plenty of pressure and having goalkeeper Ethan Horvath to thank for several fine stops.
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Asked about the moment he became the youngest USMNT captain since 1990, breaking Landon Donovan’s record by over two years, Pulisic was full of pride.
“It is a huge honor to captain this team. I’ve been with these guys for a while and for them to think that I can lead the team, it means a lot to me. It was special but in the end we wanted a better result with the game,” Pulisic said. “For the coaches, staff, team to trust me to be captain of the team, it means everything. I was never a captain in my life. Now, to be captain for the United States national team it is an incredible honor. It doesn’t matter what age you are. I will never forgot this moment.”
Pulisic was one of the few U.S. players (Horvath and Tyler Adams the others) who tried to hold Italy back in a one-sided game where the U.S. had just 26.5 percent of possession.
The Dortmund winger was critical of the U.S. after their defeat to England last week, and he didn’t hold back following the loss against Italy.
“They came out a lot more confident than us and they dominated the game,” Pulisic said. “In the end, we can keep learning things but again it wasn’t good enough. All we can do is look back at our mistakes and learn from them, and now look forward to this new year and we have to become a lot better.”
Asked if adding veteran players into the squad in the coming months was the way forward, Pulisic said it will be up the new head coach to decide.
If he was the coach, he’d definitely give more minutes to experienced players.
“That would be up to the coach, it is impossible for me to see. I don’t think it would be a bad idea,” Pulisic said. “Some guys need the direction and see where this team is going to go. Veteran guys can always help that.”
And what about his own future?
Chelsea have been heavily linked with Pulisic in the past few days, while the Pennsylvania native has also been a long-term target of Premier League powerhouses Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur as his current contract with Dortmund runs until the summer of 2020.
Dortmund’s sporting director released a statement on Monday saying that Pulisic would not be for sale this January, and Pulisic was asked by Pro Soccer Talk if there has been any change in his current situation given the increased speculation.
“I’m still focused on Dortmund. We are doing great this season. Once the break comes [in January], that is always when I will have to discuss with Dortmund and see about my future,” Pulisic said.
The door appears to remain open for a move in the coming months.