Christian Pulisic: “We’re excited. I mean we’re good friends, good teammates. It’ll be interesting to play against them in a World Cup as you can imagine.” (Mayela Lopez/Reuters via USA TODAY Sports)
By Michael Lewis
Moments after it was determined the United States would meet England in the World Cup on Friday, Christian Pulisic got a text from his Chelsea teammate, Mason Mount.
Mount is a member of the English national team.
“We’re already talking and excited, looking forward to the game,” the U.S. men’s national team standout said during a Friday Zoom media press conference. “It’s obviously a big team and I know a lot of these guys, but I think it’s going to be a really, really nice matchup and something that we’re definitely excited about.”
Being the lone American on the English Premier League team, Pulisic will be in the middle of the banter from now until Nov. 25, when the teams will meet in the second game of Group B in Qatar.
“I only spoke to a couple of them … just laughing,” Pulisic said. “We’re excited. I mean we’re good friends, good teammates. It’ll be interesting to play against them in a World Cup as you can imagine.”
Like it or not, the 23-year-old Pulisic could be in for a long eight months due to the English tabloids that has a history of exaggerating stories and even making some up. Of course, Pulisic could wind up transferring from Chelsea because of the EPL club’s financial condition. That occurred after owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned and will be forced to sell the club. At the present time, Chelsea has no fresh cash being pumped into it.
A headline in an English newspaper online called the game an “American Dream.”
“I’m not like maybe necessarily looking at just that match, like people are making it sound,” Pulisic said. “We need to be ready for all the games in the World Cup. It’s a headline. It’s what people like to do, creates noise makes people more interested. But I’m not looking at it like that. We’re going to be ready to play. They’re going to be ready to play and it’s going to be a battle.”
In some ways, the British media blitz already has hit Pulisic.
An English writer asked him if he thought England could win the World Cup.
“I’m not really worried about that too much at the moment to be honest with you,” he said. “That’s our opponent and we’re going to we’re going to do our best. I’m more worried about what our team is going to do.”
Even though he knows several players on the English team, Pulisic said he won’t need much motivation against that squad.
“I don’t think that’s what brings extra motivation,” he said. “I think a World Cup match for our country is all we need. So, I’m not going to be thinking about that really at all. It’s going to be a test either way. So, we’re going to give it all and hopefully we’ll be on the right end.”