Lampard: Pulisic can reach Sterling, Salah, Mane level
Christian Pulisic can reach the levels of Raheem Sterling, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
That is what Chelsea boss Frank Lampard believes, mentioning those superstar wingers unprompted when discussing Pulisic’s potential.
Lampard heaped praise on Pulisic, 21, after his superb goal in Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Man City on Thursday, as the USMNT star has scored in each of his first two games of the Premier League restart and is making up for lost time after being out injured since Jan. 1.
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ProSoccerTalk asked Lampard about Pulisic via Zoom following the American’s man of the match display against Man City, specifically asking about his recent goalscoring exploits and how big of a player he can become in the years to come.
“I think he can become a really big player,” Lampard said. “When you look at his age, because he broke through at such a young age in Germany, and he moves to us and people, their expectations rise. We have to take his age into consideration but there’s no doubting the quality. We can see that. He’s very keen to improve and to work, and he’s particularly hungry at the minute because he missed some time with his injury.
“If he wants to learn, and he does, then on the training pitch and how he sees the game and if he looks around him and sees the players around him that have made that sort of a jump. He has the ability of the Raheem Sterling’s who are producing numbers from wide areas, the Mo Salah’s and Mane’s. It’s important he understands the work that needs to be done to do that because he definitely has the talent to do that. He needs to try and get to that level. I’m delighted to have him at the minute. He works hard every day and he has to set his sights as high as he possibly can.”
Pulisic has now scored seven goals in the Premier League this season and his debut season in England has gone from strength to strength after a slow start.
Left out of the Chelsea team in September and October, Pulisic told ProSoccerTalk it was ‘very frustrating’ but the American winger kicked on during the winter months before injury strike him in January and he had only just recovered in March when the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
These words from Lampard show just how highly he is rated at Chelsea and adding goals and assists to his game was the final part of the jigsaw as his previous highest goals tally in a season was seven before 2019-20. He has eight goals in all competitions so far and he looks likely to hit double figures considering his current form and Chelsea still being in both the FA Cup and Champions League.
Lampard, the highest-scoring midfielder in Premier League history, knows all about timing runs from midfield and finishing and he told us he is working one-on-one with Pulisic to improve that side of his game. Getting to the levels of Sterling, Mane and Salah will not be easy but Pulisic will be pushed all the way by Lampard and Chelsea and that is exactly what he needs.
Pulisic has stiff competition just to get into the team at Chelsea as it is right now and with Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech arriving for the 2020-21 season, it will get even tougher. That is bringing out the best in the Pennsylvanian Messi.
Doing what he’s doing at the age of 21, is it possible that Pulisic could surpass Mane, Salah and Sterling?