Christian Pulisic admits he will be forever grateful to Jurgen Klopp for giving him his big break, with the current Chelsea winger saying it was “unreal” to work with the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan at Borussia Dortmund.
The United States international saw his potential snapped up by German giants at an early age, with impressive progress a long way from his comfort zone allowing a senior debut to be made at 17.
Klopp was the man to hand Pulisic his competitive bow, with the talented forward incorporated into a star-studded squad that also included the likes of Marco Reus, Mario Gotze and Ilkay Gundogan.
Pulisic concedes that he never expected his rise to the top to be so rapid, with the 21-year-old thankful to Klopp – who is now a rival in England at Liverpool – for putting him on a path that has seen him become a talismanic presence for his country and a Premier League star.
“The craziest thing is people don’t realise I started out in the youth teams over there. I was just working hard for that one opportunity I could get,” Pulisc told the 13&MEpodcast.
“I was going to German school over there and I will never forget that one day I was in class and I looked at my phone and it was a text from my youth coach saying you are training with the first team tonight. The rest of the day I wasn’t even paying attention. I couldn’t think of anything else.
“I’m getting ready, going to training and it’s just unreal I was 16 or 17 and I’m going in the warm-up and there’s huge names at the time. There’s Aubameyang, Marco Reus, Matts Hummels, Mkhitaryan. All these guys and they were just in the Champions League final the year before.
“It’s like I’m going in and I’m just this 16-year-old kid. I was thinking just do my best.
“I was just so excited and I’m just thankful to Jurgen Klopp that he gave me that opportunity. I’ll take that with me forever and I’m really grateful.”
Pulisic spent four seasons as part of the first-team fold at Dortmund, taking in 127 appearances and scoring 19 goals.
Chelsea then snapped him up in 2019, with six efforts recorded through 23 outings for the Blues before an untimely injury and lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic stunted the American’s progress.