RB Salzburg boss Jesse Marsch has suggested that Frank Lampard initially doubted Christian Pulisic because the winger is American.
Pulisic became a Chelsea player last summer, effectively replacing Eden Hazard. While he had big boots to fill, the 22-year-old began to fulfil his potential over time.
Pulisic ended his first Chelsea season with 11 goals and 10 assists in all competitions. Some even claimed he was well on his way to matching Hazard’s legacy.
However, Lampard initially had some doubts about Pulisic, according to Marsch.
The Salzburg boss, who received two caps for the USA in his own playing career, has revealed that after a discussion with Lampard last pre-season, he felt the Chelsea coach did not understand Pulisic’s intelligence of the game yet.
Marsch told Extratime Radio: “The perception in Europe, mostly, is that the American player is willing to run, willing to fight, has good mentality, but technically they’re not very gifted and tactically they’re not very aware and their experiences aren’t very big.
“But we’re seeing that change. We’re seeing more and more of these players develop themselves.
“Even Frank Lampard, when I spoke to him in preseason a year ago now, I was talking to him about having Christian Pulisic and he was kind of like, ‘Yeah, he’s got a lot to learn so we’ll see how he does’. I said to him, ‘Listen, he was at Dortmund, and they had a high level of tactical thinking, of playing, and he was very successful’.
“He was considered one of the best young players in Germany and that’s in a group of players with Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Joshua Kimmich, these kinds of players. He was in a group with those players, and it’s not just because he was talented but it was because he understood the tactics and understood how to fit in the game and he was developing a real astute way of how to play.”
‘Pulisic better than Lampard gave credit for’
Marsch also claimed that Pulisic’s education in Germany was a major factor in his development.
However, the 46-year-old thinks Pulisic has acquired qualities from his homeland as well as Germany.
He continued: “I could see right away that Frank Lampard’s idea of Christian Pulisic was shaped a lot by the fact that he was American and not that his football education came a lot from what has happened in Germany. Since then, I think Lampard has learned that Pulisic is a lot better than he gave him credit for.
“Christian had to fight for that, which is the American quality, but he’s a damn good player. Same with Gio Reyna, same with Tyler Adams, same with Weston McKennie.
“All of these players are now starting to show, born and raised in America, that they’re not only big talents, but they’re also more refined players than many think. Brenden Aaronson will show that when he’s here and I think more examples will change the perception of what the American player is.”