Football

Captain America Pulisic scores hat-trick against Burnley

EPL
BURNLEY CHELSEA
2 4
(Jay Rodriguez 86, Dwight McNeil 89) (Christian Pulisic 21, 45, 56, Willian 58)

Christian Pulisic failed to hit the ground running at Chelsea after finally joining the west London side from Borussia Dortmund but staked a strong claim for a first-team spot with a magnificent performance in a 4-2 win at Burnley on Sunday morning (Oct 27, Singapore time).

The 21-year old US international became the youngest Chelsea player to score a hat-trick in the English Premier League, beating Tammy Abraham’s record which had stood for just 42 days.

Pulisic, who stayed at Dortmund on loan after signing for Chelsea in January for £55 million (S$96m), has struggled to earn a start at Stamford Bridge ahead of Abraham, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Willian and Mason Mount.

When given the chance at Turf Moor by manager Frank Lampard, however, the American impressed with a dazzling display that was garnished by sublime close control and lethal finishing.

So excited was the youngster on his first league start since Aug 31 to have bagged his first goals for Chelsea that he had to be reminded to take the match-ball home.

“It’s my first professional hat-trick so I nearly forgot the match-ball, luckily my teammates helped me out,” he said.

“I just want to be on the field, help the team and make an impact. I didn’t think it would be super easy. But I have come on a few times the past few weeks and was happy to start today, it was a special day.

“There are young guys in the team but we forget about that when we go out there. It’s a fun team to play with now and we just want to keep this run going.”

BIG PRICE

Pulisic, who has scored 14 goals in 34 senior appearances for the US, joined Dortmund at youth level in 2015 after netting 20 in 34 for his country’s Under-17 side.

He turned professional in 2016 and in his first three full seasons at the Bundesliga club, he quickly caught the eye with his electrifying pace and dribbling skills.

In November 2018, he became the youngest player ever to captain the US when he led his country out against Italy, aged 20 years and 63 days, earning him the nickname Captain America.

But a wealth of talented forwards at Chelsea meant Pulisic endured a tough start in London, with Lampard explaining that he had shunned the American for a reason after he played for the US in their Gold Cup final defeat by Mexico in July.

“He had a week’s break this summer. He arrived for a big price and wanted to come straight back in but, at the same time, why am I going to throw him in?,” Lampard told Sky Sports.

“So I have to do it in the right way and get the best out of him. I’m delighted for him.”

If Pulisic’s performance against Burnley is anything to go by, he will leave Lampard spoilt for choice up front after steering Chelsea to their seventh successive win in all competitions. – REUTERS

Christian PulisicchelseaBURNLEYcaptain america