Gareth Southgate says England 'need to be ready for Christian Pulisic'

Gareth Southgate singles out Christian Pulisic as ‘someone England need to be ready for’ in World Cup clash with USA, despite winger’s difficulty ‘adjusting’ to Premier League since joining Chelsea

  • Gareth Southgate has singled out Christian Pulisic as someone ‘to be ready for’
  • England play the USA in their second World Cup fixture on November 25
  • Pulisic is likely to play a part in that match despite recent difficulties for Chelsea
  • Southgate said the winger has had a hard time settling in to Premier League life 

Gareth Southgate has singled out Christian Pulisic as someone his team need to be ‘ready for’ while suggesting that the American has had a hard time adjusting to life in the Premier League.   

After joining Chelsea from Borussia Dortmund in 2019, the 24-year-old has shown a lot of quality but has struggled to settle into the rhythm of the Premier League and secure a spot in Graham Potter’s first team despite scoring 26 times in 131 appearances for the Blues.

Battling with the likes of Kai Havertz, Raheem Sterling and Hakim Ziyech hasn’t made that easier, but Southgate is not underestimating his potential, with Pulisic’s excellent turn of pace and creativity on the ball being something England need to respect in Qatar.  

Gareth Southgate says England ‘need to be ready’ for Christian Pulisic (pictured) at World Cup

Southgate (left) said Pulisic has struggled to adjust to the top-flight since arriving in 2019

‘He would probably feel he hasn’t got quite to where he wants to get to yet, I’d imagine,’ the England boss told ESPN. ‘But he’s a very good player and is a player when you’re looking at the opposition teamsheet is someone you’ve got to be aware of and got to be ready for.’ 

Pulisic yielded six goals in 13 appearances for the Blues last season but has struggled to cement himself as a regular face in the Chelsea first 11, with the winger having made just three starts this season. 

Southgate admitted that Pulisic like most other players, may have found it hard at first to acclimatise to the physicality and relentlessness of the English top-flight, but given time, could become a top player.

Pulisic (centre) has just one goal in 12 Premier League appearances this season for Chelsea

He is likely to pose a huge threat for England who play USA on November 25 in Group B

‘I obviously watched him [Pulisic] a fair bit at Dortmund as we had Jadon Sancho there at the time,’ the England boss said. ‘Then moving into Chelsea, I think that adaptation from the Bundesliga to the Premier League isn’t straightforward for a start.

‘The level of the biggest games is similar if you’re playing Bayern Munich or [Red Bull] Leipzig but then when you drop down the league.

‘There’s a big difference between the spending power in the bottom half of the Premier League where they can basically take players from some of the biggest clubs in Europe and the bottom half of most of the other leagues in Europe where that depth isn’t there.

Pulisic has played for three different managers since joining Chelsea from Borussia Dortmund

‘So, I think that takes some adjusting to not only the physical nature of our league but the intensity of every match.’

While the intensity of playing in the English leagues is one thing to adjust to, having had cope with a trio of different managers at Chelsea which includes Frank Lampard, Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter, has also, in Southgate’s view, been difficult. 

‘Of course, he’s had two or three coaches to deal with so I think there’s been moments where he’s looked like he’s on his way, he’s flowing and he’s got a coach that believes in him and he’s had to deal then with setbacks with injury.’

The American came on to play 12 minutes during Chelsea’s 1-0 defeat to Arsenal at the weekend, and considering his lack of game time this season, has the chance to feature tomorrow in their Carabao Cup tie against Manchester City. 

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