A growing minority of U.S. men’s national team supporters has voiced serious concerns over Christian Pulisic‘s recent benching and lack of first-team minutes at Chelsea, but USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter insists he’s far from worried at this point.
The way Berhalter sees it, these early struggles are to be expected when a player moves to a new club in a new league in a new country. Despite the fact Pulisic didn’t see a single minute of Premier League action during the month of September, Berhalter insists “he’s quality and his time will come” — quotes from Soccer America:
“He’s at Chelsea, one of the biggest clubs in the world, and there’s a different level of pressure on him.”
“In terms of adapting from the style of play from one country to another, what I’d say is you just have to get used to it. You have to take in information. You have to start understanding what makes the style of play effective in that country, and try to integrate as fast as possible.
“We want Christian playing a big part of what we do. He’s a player that we believe in, and we’re patient. We know things take time, and we know sometimes adapting to different leagues takes time as well. So we’re patient with his process. If he has a good process in place, which we believe he does, we think his quality will come through.”
The fact that Pulisic has already navigated the treacheries of moving abroad once in his career — at the age of 16, no less — should be a reassuring sign for USMNT fans and coaches alike. However, the 21-year-old hasn’t done so in the white-hot spotlight of Chelsea, a club which exists to populate sensational stories on the back page of UK newspapers and has an infinitely higher visibility to fans back home in the United States.