Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has been applauded by Brian McBride for showing the patience with Christian Pulisic that the United States international required in order to settle in England.
Big things were expected of the USMNT star when he completed a big-money move to Stamford Bridge from Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2019.
No questions were ever asked of his quality of ability to be a long-term success in west London, but the 21-year-old did endure a slow start to his time in new surroundings.
A Premier League hat-trick against Burnley then saw a fuse lit in some style, with Pulisic progressing positively from that point before suffering an untimely injury that has kept him out since New Year’s Day.
McBride, who represented Everton and Fulham in his playing days and is now general manager of the United States national side, told Chelsea’s official US podcast of how Lampard has been able to get the best out of Pulisic: “I think that’s the good thing about having a manager who has played the game at such a high level, because Frank was very patient with Christian at the beginning.
“Christian’s moved over to a new country, joined a new team and had to establish himself in a new league. There could have been the pressure there on him to deliver straight away but Frank understood that he needed to have time to adapt.
“So, from a US national team perspective, that was really nice to see. We don’t know what was happening behind the scenes at the club and how hands on that would have been, but it allowed time for Christian to settle in, adapt and integrate into the team. He was then able to understand how both Chelsea and Frank wanted him to play.
“Then when the time was right, Frank really let Christian loose and you could see before the injury he was really sharp, he was quick on his heels and he was hurting opposition defenders.”
Pulisic had taken in 23 appearances for Chelsea prior to being injured, with McBride encouraged by the partnerships he was forming before hitting the treatment table.
He added: “He seemed to really find a good bond with Tammy [Abraham].
“He was supplying him with good deliveries, and he was able to run off him and link up well. So, the timing of the injury was very unfortunate, not only for Christian, but for Chelsea too.”
Pulisic will be looking to hit the ground running whenever Premier League football returns, with Lampard’s side still very much in the hunt for a top-four finish and Champions League qualification.