Chelsea manager Frank Lampard is backing talisman Christian Pulisic to continue his positive development at Stamford Bridge this season after being handed the number 10 shirt at the club.
The USA international enjoyed a remarkable debut season with the Blues last season as he helped Frank Lampard’s side to finish in fourth place in the Premier League table and book their place in the Uefa Champions League.
Pulisic, 21, was particularly impressive in the second part of the season as he scored 11 goals and contributed ten assists in 34 appearances to help Chelsea qualify for Europe’s elite club competition.
The talented playmaker was not included in squad for Chelsea’s 3-1 win over Brighton on Monday night as he continues his work up to full fitness following a hamstring injury suffered in the FA Cup final back in August.
Pulisic, who wore number 22 last season, did show Frank Lampard enough however to earn the number 10 shirt in the wake of Willian’s decision to leave the club and join Arsenal.
While Willian’s experience made him an obvious choice to succeed Eden Hazard, boss Frank Lampard believes Pulisic’s early performances for the club and his enormous potential made him a natural fit for the iconic number.
Speaking in an interview Lampard said: ‘I wanted him to have it [the number 10 shirt] because I felt like he deserved it and he wanted it.
‘He came last year and Willian was almost the man in waiting at the club to take the number 10 shirt and I think it was right he took it with his experience.
‘When it became open I think what Christian delivered in his first year more than warranted that he gets the shirt and what it means.
‘I know it means a lot and there will be a few in that line to try and have that shirt but I was keen for him to have it and very pleased to actually make the call.
‘I called him, as he was home at the time, and I could sense he was happy and I get the sense now it’s another little push up for him where he can hopefully feel confident that he’s here, he’s number 10, the responsibilities that come with that and I’ve got no worries with Christian.
‘As I say, he’s hungry and the only thing we have to continue to do is manage him because he’s so fast and the way he plays, we have to manage and try to come away from those big injuries he had last year.
‘That’s something we’re working on. We all know what a fit Christian Pulisic can do.’
Frank Lampard’s men will return to Premier League action on Sunday afternoon when they welcome defending champions Liverpool to Stamford Bridge.
The Blues have started 2020/21 campaign perfectly as they sealed an impressive 3-1 win at Brighton and Hove Albion on Monday night thanks to goals from Jorginho, Reece James and Kurt Zouma.
The west London club finished fourth last season but missed out on a trophy when they were beaten 2-1 by Arsenal in the FA Cup final back in August.