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Christian Pulisic ready for “fresh USMNT start” after tough Chelsea season

Christian Pulisic ready for “fresh USMNT start” after tough Chelsea season

Christian Pulisic endured some of his toughest moments as a Chelsea player during the 2022-23 English Premier League season and with a new opportunity approaching to get back to his best, the U.S. men’s national team attacker is ready to wipe the slate clean.

Pulisic is currently with the USMNT in Carson, California ahead of its upcoming Concacaf Nations League semifinal clash with Mexico on June 15. The 24-year-old totaled the second-fewest minutes of his club career (1,013 total) during the Blues’ disappointing campaign, while only registering one goal and two assists in 30 combined appearances.

Chelsea endured a major drop off in the Premier League, finishing 12th and well outside of the European places while Pulisic took a step back in terms of individual form. Now with an opportunity to lift a second-consecutive Nations League title, Pulisic is hoping to get his confidence and game changing abilities.

“It’s been a really tough season for me personally and for our team of course at a club level,” Pulisic said in a conference call with media on Monday. “So for me it’s just about coming in here and having a fresh start and being able to be a part of a team that hopefully can come out and win some games. So I’m really excited to be here and just to get some minutes on the field and just get back to being that confident player that I know I can be in and just find my footing again and just enjoying the game because it feels like it’s been tough to do that lately.”

Pulisic has one year left on his current Chelsea contract, but remains one of several Chelsea players linked with an exit from Stamford Bridge this summer, especially with the club trying to recoup funds ahead of the start of Mauricio Pochettino’s spell as manager. Juventus is reportedly leading the race for Pulisic, who previously was linked with Manchester United, Newcastle United, Borussia Dortmund, and Atletico Madrid at different points of the season.

The USMNT captain remains focused on latest spell of international duty, but admitted his club status could change by summer’s end.

“Obviously, it’s been an interesting journey at club level for me. I thought it was a great couple years and the last couple years just haven’t gone at all how I’ve planned them to be,” Pulisic said. “And right now my focus is obviously here with the national team. I’m just excited to get back playing and just enjoy myself and do what I love to do out on the field. And from there, this summer, we’re obviously going to have to see what happens.

“It’s obviously very early,” Pulisic said about his club status. “As of right now I’m a Chelsea player and I plan to go back. But a lot of things can happen. A lot of things can change.”

Roy K. Miller/ISI Photos

Pulisic comes into USMNT camp with new interim head coach B.J. Callaghan in charge following Anthony Hudson’s departure in May. Callaghan served as an assistant coach under former head coach Gregg Berhalter and is currently the longest-serving member of the staff heading into a busy summer schedule.

Whether or not Callaghan remains a long-term option for the head coaching job remains to be seen, but Pulisic is preparing to do anything he can to help the 41-year-old ahead of crucial head-to-head meeting with El Tri for a potential berth into the Nations League finals.

“I’ve had quite a few managers in my time, so I’ve dealt with change,” Pulisic said. “I mean [Callaghan] especially he, he’s been a part of Gregg’s staff. We know him well. We know what he is all about. He’s not going to come in and try to change everything. He’s going to come in, give some new ideas, give input, and obviously make sure [to] run by everything with the team, with some of the leadership guys.

“We’re going to have to be well prepared once the game comes around,” Pulisic added. “It’s not something that any of us have never seen before, so we’re just going to give our best and help him along the way as he helps us and try to win some games.”

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