'Still up in the air': International coach unsure if Chelsea star is fit enough to start next match

United States manager Gregg Berhalter admitted he was not yet certain whether Chelsea winger Christian Pulisic would start his team’s upcoming match.

As quoted by the Evening Standard, Berhalter said it was still too soon to make a call on Pulisic’s selection, despite the USA’s clash against Jamaica taking place tonight.

Fit for service

The attacker has been gradually making his way back from an ankle injury, which had kept him out for nearly three months.

He has now made three consecutive substitute appearances for club and country.

The latest of which certainly tasted the sweetest.

Pulisic came off the bench to score at home to Mexico in the Stars and Stripes’ last World Cup qualifying fixture.  

Photo by John Dorton/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Berhalter bringing Pulisic back to earth

His next goal must be to start a game for the first time since August when his country play in Kingston this evening.

However, Berhalter had to rein in the player’s ambitions and offer a reality check.

“It comes down to a judgment call. It comes down to how we feel he can best affect the opponent,” he said on Pulisic’s current availability.

“We could have started him against Mexico, but we didn’t want to start him against Mexico because we knew that he couldn’t go the full 90.

“So it’s going to be a similar type of question that we have to ask for this game.

Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images

“If we do start him, how much time can he play and what does that look like for the game and getting the result of the game?

“For us, it’s still up in the air, but what I’d say is that he’s come along really well after the game.

“He trained yesterday and will be in full training today so we’ll see.”

If Pulisic fails to play 90 minutes later today, he can at least look forward to Chelsea’s next outing for another crack at the whip.

Thomas Tuchel’s side travel to Leicester City in the Premier League on Saturday, in search of another three points to maintain their top spot.

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.