Frank Lampard was skeptical over Christian Pulisic’s ability to thrive for Chelsea because of his nationality, says Jesse Marsch.
Pulisic, who signed for Chelsea in January 2019, linked up with the squad in the summer of that year from Borussia Dortmund shortly after Lampard had replaced Maurizio Sarri as manager.
Things didn’t really kick-off for him at Stamford Bridge until the second half of last season, though. But the winger kept his head down and proved himself as a valuable addition, leading many to label him as a potential successor to Eden Hazard.
But RB Salzburg coach Marsch has revealed that Lampard didn’t rate Pulisic that highly when he first arrived because of his American nationality.
Marsch told Extratime Radio: “The perception in Europe, mostly, is that the American player is willing to run, willing to fight, has a 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.
“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.”
Chelsea will be in action on Tuesday night for their Champions League opener at home to Sevilla.