Gregg Berhalter said of Christian Pulisic (above): “Really looking forward to using him, in a couple different ways and see how he can be most effective.” (FrontRowSoccer.com Photo)
By Michael Lewis
Christian Pulisic could very well see more action during a four-day span with the U.S. men’s national team than he has recently for Chelsea.
For the most part, the 22-year-old midfielder has been relegated to a part-time and substitutes role with the English Premier League side.
The USA plays Jamaica in Austria March 25 before traveling to Northern Ireland to face off with the home side there March 28.
Pulisic is coming off a 13-minute substitute performance and as he set up the final goal in a 2-0 UEFA Champions League Round of 16 win over Atletico Madrid Wednesday. He became the first USMNT to reach 10 career points in the CCL (four goals, six assists).
“This will be a great opportunity for him to get together with his friends and get to see the group,” Berhalter said. “I remember when I played for the national team coming back and or joining up with the team and seeing all your buddies again and then get on the field and be able to compete with them. That was the best part of it. So, I’m sure he’s excited about. It will be great to have him in camp, great to have him on the field. Really looking forward to using him, in a couple different ways and see how he can be most effective.”
Pulisic hasn’t gotten as much playing time as he would have liked from the Blues new coach, Thomas Tuchel, who ironically, directed Borussia Dortmund when the USMNT played there.
“Anytime you get a new coach, it’s about establishing yourself and that’s completely normal,” Berhalter said. “Every player is looking to do that. I’ve had some good conversations with their coaching staff and had good conversations with Christian and he’s confident where he needs to get to. The coaching staff has a lot of faith in him, a lot of trust in him. And now it’s just about giving him the opportunity to show it on the field.”
For many, if not all players in Europe, life can be quite solitary.
“Having to go from the training ground to their apartment and then they’re locked up to complete isolation and then they’re playing Saturday-Wednesday, Saturday-Wednesday for months on end without fans,” Berhalter said. “It’s a lot for these guys. You can see it taken its toll on you know on everyone.”