Christian Pulisic will not be available for Chelsea’s date with West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, but is slowly making progress with the English Premier League side.
Pulisic has yet to feature for the London club this season after suffering a setback from his hamstring injury suffered in July’s FA Cup Final loss to Arsenal. The U.S. Men’s National Team star was one of Chelsea’s top performers in his first season with the club, but isn’t expected to play a part this season for another week or two.
“Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic are not ready for the squad tomorrow,” Frank Lampard confirmed to reporters Friday. “but they are both training with us now which is good news, and we hope to have them in proper match contention over the next week or two.”
“There is always a concern about player fitness when their history shows there has been injuries. And you try to find the right way and right balance to get the best out of Christian, which we saw in big periods last year.”
Pulisic became the first American player to score in the historic cup competition for the Blues, but eventually left the game with a hamstring injury. The 21-year-old scored 10 goals and added seven assists in all competitions last season, and ended his season on a high note with five goals and two assists in all competitions.
With new players coming into Chelsea’s attack, Pulisic will need to be ready to go in order to continue earning consistent minutes in Lampard’s squad. The American has also been handed the No. 10 jersey by Lampard following Willian’s move to Arsenal, joining the likes of Eden Hazard and Juan Mata to wear the historic number.
With matches already coming thick and fast for Chelsea, Lampard isn’t looking to run Pulisic ragged with a full season on the horizon.
“You make sure you don’t over-cook him and leave him susceptible to injury, and particularly with a player of his explosive pace and balance that is a fine line,” Lampard said.
“We are working on that and Christian is very open to that. He wants to play, he is so hungry and he is very nearly fit now but it is certainly something we will have to manage this season. We have all seen the talent and it is something I want to get right. I am not saying it is a fundamental, chronic issue, it is not, but we want as many minutes of the great Christian we saw last season on the pitch.”
Chelsea is coming off a 2-0 league loss to Liverpool, but advanced in the Carabao Cup midweek thanks to a 6-0 thumping of Championship side Barnsley.
It seems likely Pulisic won’t be available for a fourth round league cup trip to Tottenham on Sept. 30th, making October 3rd’s league date with Crystal Palace a possibility for him to make his season debut.