Christian Pulisic is not looking to be “the next Hazard”, says former Borussia Dortmund team-mate Nuri Sahin, with the United States international expected to become “a great player for Chelsea” in his own right.
A highly-rated playmaker that forged his reputation in Germany arrived at Stamford Bridge over the summer amid much fanfare.
Despite being just 21 years of age, big things are both expected and demanded from Pulisic for club and country.
He has become accustomed to operating under the brightest of spotlights, but initially found the going tough in English football.
Having joined Chelsea as Belgian talisman Hazard headed for Real Madrid, the American schemer was charged with the task of filling some sizeable boots in west London.
At first that challenge appeared too big for him, but a welcome return to form over recent weeks – which has included a Premier League hat-trick – has seen Pulisic showing his true colours.
Sahin expects the youngster to go from strength to strength, telling The Times: “Which player can be compared to Hazard, though?
“There is only a handful of players on the level of Hazard. As I know, Christian doesn’t put himself under pressure to be the next Hazard.
“I spoke to him and he also doesn’t have that pressure from the club, from his manager, so he will be OK.
“He will be a great player for Chelsea, but he will not be the next Hazard. It’s important to be the best version of Christian Pulisic.”
Sahin added on a player still finding his feet in new surroundings after making a £58 million ($74m) move: “It’s not easy to go to a huge club like Chelsea and play the same way he did in Dortmund but I was sure he would be OK.
“And now you can see some goals and some great games. If he is in full flow, he will be a big player for Chelsea — he already is.”
Pulisic has recorded five goals across his last three Premier League appearances for Chelsea, but will be playing no part for his country during the current international break.
USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter has confirmed that a star man has been ruled out of his plans with a hip injury.
He told reporters ahead of CONCACAF Nations League matches against Canada and Cuba: “Christian is officially at this stage ruled out. We just got that information.
“This was a collaborative decision with the club – looking after the best interest of the player.”