'Like Messi and Ronaldo': International teammate says so much is expected of 23-year-old Chelsea player

Tyler Adams emphasised the pressure placed upon Christian Pulisic’s shoulders by American media and fans.

As quoted by Goal, the RB Leipzig midfielder praised Pulisic for taking on such reasonability without much fuss or failure.

The Chelsea attacker has been viewed in many circles as the shining light for soccer back home, not to mention being the USNMT’s beacon of hope.

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He is arguably the most high-profile star from his corner of the continent, thanks to playing for a prominent Premier League and Champions League team.

Only a relatively small pool of players actually ply their trade outside of the USA, meaning those at top European clubs are elevated to new levels.

None more so than Pulisic, who made waves at Borussia Dortmund before joining Chelsea in 2019.

Pulisic continues to pull through

But despite winning numerous trophies, featuring in finals and reaching over 200 career appearances, a question mark still hangs over the 23-year-old’s head.

Mainly from those sporting or covering the Stars and Stripes.

They’ve probably seen his success on the domestic stage and question why he hasn’t done the same internationally.

“I think that that Christian has always felt that responsibility with him growing up as sort of that golden child in the U.S. Soccer generation,” said Adams, a compatriot and teammate to Pulisic.

“People put expectations on him and, to be quite frank with you, he’s dealt with them better than anybody would really deal with that.

“In every single situation, he’s expected to do things that people like (Lionel) Messi and (Cristiano) Ronaldo are supposed to do.

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“He’s supposed to bring us to the World Cup, and I think that he’s seeing now that, with the quality of the team that we have, he can take a little bit less responsibility because we have the quality of players now that can pick up a little bit of that slack and continue to help.

“We just always want to put him in the best position to succeed, but he’s doing a great job.”

American danger

Well, Pulisic has now fulfilled part of his prophecy by leading America to the World Cup.

Last night, Gregg Berhalter’s men confirmed their place in Qatar by not losing to Costa Rica by more than six goals.

They did not qualify for Russia and have only got past the round of 16 once more since reaching the semi-finals in 1930.

But despite their poor record, there is a redefined optimism heading into the tournament.

Berhalter has a better squad than most of his predecessors to call upon.

Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images

Alongside Pulisic and Adams, there is West McKennie of Juventus, Borussia Dortmund’s Giovanni Reyna and Sergino Dest from Barcelona among others.

If Chelsea’s number ten can lead his country to glory, he will have truly earned the mantel of Captain America.

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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.