Pulisic being out injured is hugely frustrating for everyone.
For the player, his managers for club and country, fans across the world and everyone who loves the game (as we discuss in the video above), because we all want to see the USMNT and Chelsea star on the pitch.
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Increasingly that hasn’t been the case over the last 12-18 months, as he’s suffered multiple injuries at Borussia Dortmund and Chelsea, with a major hamstring tear on Aug. 1 keeping him out until early October and a smaller hamstring issue in the warm up at Burnley last Saturday saw him pull out of Chelsea’s starting lineup.
That issue seems to be a minor one, thank goodness, but as he prepares for a quick comeback and to feature for the USMNT in the upcoming international break against Wales and Panama, should we be concerned about these consistent injury issues?
Let’s make one thing clear: nobody wants to see a player of Pulisic’s quality spend any more time on the sidelines. Even if you aren’t a Chelsea or USMNT fan, chances are you love to watch him play. He’s a superstar.
Listing Pulisic’s injury record
Here’s a closer look at the injuries Pulisic has suffered in just the last two years, as he’s suffered six injuries which have kept him out for at least two weeks on each occasion:
- August 2018: Muscular problem, 17 days out
- October 2018: Torn muscle fibre, 15 days out
- February 2019: Torn muscle fibre, 16 days out
- March 2019: Torn muscle fibre, 20 days out
- January 2020: Tear in adductor, 75 days out
- August 2020: Hamstring injury, 63 days out
- October 2020: Hamstring injury, TBD
When you see his problems written down in a list like that, you realize that they haven’t been minor issues and they are very similar problems.
Due to those issues he’s been unavailable for 22 games for Chelsea since he arrived just over 12 months ago.
USMNT put it down to growing pains
ProSoccerTalk asked USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter about Pulisic battling through very similar injuries and if he was concerned about any long-term impacts for the 22-year-old.
“I’ve been in that spot myself, where you have an injury and you’re trying to shake it and trying to come back and there is a period where you come back and you are a little bit vulnerable,” Berhalter explained. “I know Chelsea is doing every single thing they can. I know he is doing every single thing he can and he is really focused and dedicated on staying fit.
“I believe he will get to this level of resistance where he stays fit. But building that up sometimes is challenging. That could be a phase he is in right now. I know they could use him. I know he’s a fantastic player and it is great to see what he’s been doing, but he’s in good hands with the club and they are doing everything they can to get him on the field.”
Chelsea mindful of Pulisic’s injury history
Frank Lampard was also asked about Pulisic’s ongoing injury concerns and admitted that Chelsea are managing his workload given his history with injuries.
“It is obviously a relief for the injury to be on the small side. He made the right decision on not attempting to play the game. That would have made it worse. It is clearly a relief that he will be back very soon because he’s an important player for us,” Lampard said.
“With the actual muscle injury, that’s a hard one to call. It’s forever going to be a challenge. Some players that do play on the edge and have such speed in their game and acceleration, maybe that could be more susceptible. I don’t think that’s a one-size-fits-all answer, because it is different for everybody. From last season we were looking at ways of managing Christian and being proactive and hopefully not getting too many injuries. It is something he’d previously experienced with his career at Dortmund as well. We are all working in the same direction on that one to try and get him as fit as regularly as possible because we know the talent [he has].”
What next for Pulisic?
Pulisic uses his incredible acceleration to get past players and to see him in full flow is a wonderful sight, especially over the last six months at Chelsea.
But that incredible pace also comes at a cost and as we discussed in the video above, it makes you wonder if he may have to adapt his game slightly in the coming years to stay on the pitch more often. If he does that, will he lose some of his x-factor? Michael Owen is one player who springs to mind and had an incredible first few years of his career, then injuries caught up with him.
In previous seasons we could point to Pulisic being overworked with international duty and travel with the USMNT, but he hasn’t played for the U.S. men’s national team since last November. He’s had an intense period over the summer months, but before that had six months without playing due to the adductor injury he picked up in January. So he should have been able to recharge those batteries fully and Frank Lampard was very careful with the way he eased Pulisic back in.
Here’s hoping this is the final small injury for Pulisic for a long, long time, as over the last 12 months he has missed way too much time on the field.