Frank Lampard, above, admits he’s been handling his Yankee midfielder with care as the ex-Dortmund midfielder, saddled with that £58million price tag, only had a week off during the summer.
But having notched a hat-trick away to Burnley as the Blues cruised to victory (despite a couple of late consolations to spoil the clean sheet), Christian Pulisic has truly announced his arrival following a long and curious journey.
Chelsea fans chanted ‘U-S-A, U-S-A’ at Turf Moor as they hailed yet another young hero in what is rapidly becoming a season of saluting youthful prospects – something that augurs well in Lampard’s embryonic top-flight managerial career.
Defender Fikayo Tomori is already hailing the attack-minded midfield free spirit as Captain America, and at 21 that left/right/header perfect hat-trick has pitched him straight into contention for a regular place in what is becoming the most disputed, congested centre lines in the Premier League.
To cap it all, he needed prompting to collect the match ball from ref Michael Oliver!
Pulisic – the most expensive American footballer of all time – models his play on Eden Hazard. While he may currently lack the Belgian’s slippery manoeuverability, he has the explosive five-yard pace of his exalted predecessor, and the time and potential to develop further.
“This is a really tough place to come, and the way we controlled the game, our midfield combinations and movement, was beautiful to watch,” said Lampard afterwards. “I really enjoyed watching them today.
“Christian arrived for a big price, and wanted to come straight back in [to the side], but at the same time why am I going to throw him in? So I have to do it in the right way and get the best out of him. I’m delighted for him.”
The Blues’ No22, who only turned 21 last month, admitted afterwards: “It’s my first professional hat-trick, so I nearly forgot the match ball! Luckily my team-mates helped me out.
“The first few months have definitely been hard,” he added, referring to his frequent listing as a sub on the teamsheet. “I had a few starts, then I fell out a bit and I was just trying to get any minutes I could.”
Next up for the Blues, a midweek Carabao Cup tie against Man Utd, followed by a trek to struggling Watford in the league – a ground that Chelsea have stuttered on before now.
However, Chelsea have won their last half dozen away ties in all competitions and are poised to equal the record the club set in 1989 for consecutive away victories.