Christian Pulisic boasts the potential to become a “very important” player for Chelsea, says Antonio Rudiger, with the United States international having shown plenty of promise during his debut campaign in England.
The 2019-20 season has been something of a mixed bag for a player lured to the Premier League from a successful stint at Borussia Dortmund.
At just 21 years old, and already a talismanic figure for his country, big things were expected of Pulisic when he arrived in west London.
A change of scenery and the demands of a new competition initially weighed heavy on the USMNT star, with a slow start made to life at Stamford Bridge.
Pulisic was, however, to find his feet and was progressing positively prior to an untimely injury being suffered at the turn of the year.
An enforced break during the coronavirus pandemic actually worked in the young forward’s favour, as he returned to full fitness, and two goals have been recorded since the restart.
Pulisic has been a lively presence in Frank Lampard’s side, earning him comparisons to former Blues star Eden Hazard, and Rudiger has added his voice to those singing the American’s praise.
The German defender has told Chelsea’s official website: “I think Christian handles the pressure very well and you can see that when he is fit, he’s such an important player for us.
“If you look at his recent performances, since the restart, he’s been fantastic and is a real threat whenever he attacks the opposition.
“He’s scored goals but he’s also creating goals and he’s a big player for us in this moment. I just hope that he can stay fit, stay healthy and with more games I’m sure he will continue to improve even more.
“I think if he continues in this way, and stays healthy like I said, then he can become a very important player for this club.”
Pulisic needs to maintain his current standards as competition for places is fierce at Chelsea, with the promise of more to come as the Blues seek to add to the deals they already have in place for Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner.
Rudiger considers squad depth to be vital for any ambitious outfit, saying of Lampard’s ability to blend youth and experience: “We have a good mix at the club and it’s not always easy to find that.
“We have some experienced guys and of course a lot of young players, who in my opinion have done really well this season.
“Obviously we cannot predict the future, but with this mix of good, talented young guys and some more experienced players then I don’t see why we can’t challenge for trophies. In the future, we have a chance.
“With every year they take a step closer and as the coach has said before, when you are at Chelsea then these are the levels you want to get to and we should be reaching.
“Having competition is a good problem to have.
“It makes you train better and it makes you play better, because you know there are other people waiting to take your place. You have to be on the top of your game always.
“As a coach, it’s obviously difficult to keep everyone happy and of course we have so many options, so you have to give your all every day.”