Thu. Dec 2nd, 2021

    The United States star has suffered from a number of niggling injuries during his time at Stamford Bridge

    Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel admits he is “worried” about the fitness of Christian Pulisic and has urged USMNT boss Gregg Berhalter not to overuse him during the upcoming international break.

    Tuchel says Pulisic still feels some pain as he works his way back from a persistent ankle injury that has sidelined him since August.

    The U.S. team captain made his comeback as a substitute in the midweek Champions League win in Malmo before another appearance off the bench in Saturday’s Premier League draw against Burnley, raising hopes that he will be fit and firing for crucial World Cup qualifiers against Mexico and Jamaica.

    What was said?

    Asked whether the former Borussia Dortmund star is ready for international duty, Tuchel told reporters: “The answer is if you look at the minutes like you said, the question is maybe answered. I hope that they don’t overuse him and are responsible enough.

    “Christian still feels some pain. It is a matter of pain management. It’s not a matter of a re-injury or being still injured. It’s just still painful. He has tried hard.

    “He wants desperately to come back. We needed him back. It was a good start for him in Malmo. Today he had 10 minutes [against Burnley]. We are a bit worried.

    “Hopefully everybody, including himself, is responsible and doesn’t get carried away by emotions and by helping his country to win a super important match. Hopefully it all goes well and the minutes will elevate him and he will come back stronger.”

    The bigger picture

    Pulisic’s latest ankle knock is his third major setback since joining the Blues from Borussia Dortmund in 2019.

    While his return to fitness is timely for Berhalter, he will be aware that Pulisic suffered a recurrence of his latest injury during his last appearance for his country, against Honduras in September.

    The USMNT are currently third in their qualifying group, three points behind leaders Mexico and just a point clear of Canada who sit in the final automatic qualifying spot. They take on Mexico on November 12 in Cincinnati before visiting Jamaica four days later for their final qualifier of 2021.

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