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CHELSEA

"Pulisic feels no pressure to be the next Hazard"

Christian Pulisic's close friend and former team mate, Nuri Sahin, has said that the US player will never replace Eden Hazard, but will still "be a great player for Chelsea".

"Pulisic feels no pressure to be the next Hazard"
TONY O'BRIEN Action Images via Reuters

Christian Pulisic feels no pressure to be the next Eden Hazard at Chelsea, according to his close friend and former Borussia Dortmund team mate, Nuri Sahin.

Following Hazard’s move to Real Madrid in the summer, Chelsea’s 64-million-euro club-record signing Pulisic was hailed as the man to fill the Belgian winger’s boots. But a rocky start at Stamford Bridge led some to question the U.S. international’s suitability at Chelsea.

But his recent performances – a hat-trick against Burnley followed by goals against Watford and Crystal Palace – have gotten Chelsea fans excited again about the 21-year-old prospects of replacing their former talisman.

However, his ex-Dortmund colleague Sahin has played down the comparisons with Hazard, stating that Pulisic will never replace the current Madrid star and neither wants to fall under the pressure of such expectations.

Christian Pulisic scores his Chelsea's econd goal against Crystal Palace.

“Which player can be compared to Hazard, though?” Sahin told The Times.

“There is only a handful of players on the level of Hazard. As I know, Christian doesn’t put himself under pressure to be the next Hazard.

“I spoke to him and he also doesn’t have that pressure from the club, from his manager, so he will be OK. He will be a great player for Chelsea, but he will not be the next Hazard. It’s important to be the best version of Christian Pulisic.”

Sahin: Pulisic will be a big player for Chelsea

Ex-Real Madrid midfielder Sahin, who now plays for Werder Breman, acknowledged the 21-year-old winger’s slow start to life in the Premier League, but believes his recent form has shown how much of an important player he will be for Chelsea coach Frank Lampard.

After having dropped the U.S. international to the bench following a few unconvincing displays in the season’s opening, Lampard has re-introduced Pulisic to the starting XI for Chelsea’s three latest fixtures, in which the Hershey-born player has netted five goals.

Christian Pulisic celebrates his hat trick against Burnley.

“It’s not easy to go to a huge club like Chelsea and play the same way he did in Dortmund but I was sure he would be OK,” said the 31-year-old Turkey international.

“And now you can see some goals and some great games. If he is in full flow, he will be a big player for Chelsea — he already is.”

Pulisic ruled out for USMNT

Pulisic was expected to join up with the US national team for their CONCACAF Nations League ties with Canada and Cuba during the international break, however a hip injury has ruled him out.

U.S. Soccer had stated on Monday that it was monitoring the Chelsea winger’s progress in the hope that he could still make the trip across the Atlantic to convene with the squad.

Soon after, however, USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter confirmed that a joint decision was taken not to risk the 21-year-old.

“Christian is officially at this stage ruled out. We just got that information,” he said. “This was a collaborative decision with the club – looking after the best interest of the player.”