Photo by Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images
- There are two skills that will separate Christian Pulisic from other Americans who have played, and failed, in England.
- The Chelsea FC forward moved to the Premier League this summer, having signed for the club earlier in the year.
- Pulisic’s speed and soccer brain will separate him from many of the 36 other outfield Americans who have been unable to take the English league by storm.
- That is the opinion of Doug Harris, the player’s boyhood chairman at the Philadelphia Classics, who expects big things from the 20-year-old this season.
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Christian Pulisic’s speed and soccer brain separate him from other outfield Americans who have played in England and failed.
That is the opinion of Chelsea FC forward’s boyhood chairman, Doug Harris, who told Business Insider that the fearlessness he shows in his attacks, together with the way his brain works at pace, will see him succeed in the frenetic Premier League.
Pulisic joined Chelsea this summer after agreeing a $73 million transfer from Borussia Dortmund in January, in turn becoming the 37th outfield player from the US to have graced the Premier League, following in the footstephs of Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, and Landon Donovan.
With the exception of Dempsey, many Americans have struggled to make their mark on English pitches, but Harris believes Pulisic has the right abilities to avoid the failures of his predecessors, abilities he has witnessed first hand having watched him as a youngster with the Philadelphia Classics.
"He has the speed, the quickness, the technical ability, but also in his mind he is fearless," Harris told Business Insider.
"You could see that [against Liverpool], the way he set up that goal. It was brilliant — he had three or four defenders right, and he is just running right at ’em. He draws them and slips it in [to the goalscorer Olivier Giroud]. His soccer IQ is really really good."
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"He is one of the very few American players that likes to run right at people, you know? He just likes to zero right in on that back line, and run straight at ya. I love that attacking mentality.
"The US has not had many players like that — you know we’ve had Landon Donovan who likes to run at players — but the fact is he didn’t have the technical ability like Christian."
The track record of American forwards playing in the Premier League leaves a lot to be admired.
Landon Donovan, considered the greatest US soccer player of all time, scored just two goals during two spells with Everton between 2008-2010, while Jozy Altidore managed a meager six goals in 82 games during his stay with Hull City and Sunderland.
Eddie Johnson, who played for Fulham between 2007-2011, failed to even score once.
Others fared better: Brian McBride scored a respectable 45 times for Everton and Fulham, while Clint Dempsey is the highest scoring American in Premier League history having netted 57 times for Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur.
Pulisic who hails from Hershey, Pennsylvania, scored twice in pre-season for Chelsea and was outstanding in the UEFA Super Cup defeat to Liverpool, and though he is yet to score his first Premier League goal, it is likely he will soon be up and running.
And one man who won’t be surprised is Harris.
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