Chelsea new boy left feeling Blue
Chelsea winger Christian Pulisic is understandably feeling blue after being left out in the cold for Tuesday's Champions League tie.
The USA international agreed a move from Borussia Dortmund to Chelsea in January but he was loaned back to the German club for the remainder of the season.
Many felt he was signed to fill the void left by Eden Hazard but he is yet to light up the Premier League after making four appearances.
He has started three games in the league for the Blues but has not found the back of the net.
Frank Lampard named Pulisic on the bench for Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Valencia at Stamford Bridge as Mason Mount and Willian were trusted to play on the flanks.
However, Mount was forced off in the early stages with an injury and the stage seemed set for Pulisic to be introduced.
But Lampard opted for Pedro as the West London club suffered a 1-0 defeat in front of their own fans.
The snub from Lampard came on the eve of Pulisic’s 21st birthday and goes against the boss’s previous approach of rewarding youth.
Pedro is 11 years the senior of Pulisic and might not even be around next season while Pulisic looks to have been brought in as a long-term investment.
Mount, Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori fall into that category of youngsters to have been given plenty of opportunities this term, while Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Reece James are likely to come into the mix when they return from injury.
Pulisic may feel that academy products are being handed preferential treatment but some would argue he just has not stepped up in the same manner.
It could be argued that Lampard is just looking to protect Pulisic as he adapts to life in England and the demands of a new league.
Lampard insisted the winger is still “in the plans” after the loss to Valencia but it will be interesting to see if he is trusted to face Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday.
His pace and ability to get in behind could be useful in the wide areas, with both Liverpool full-backs keen to get forward.
Hudson-Odoi’s imminent return will also provide further competition for places, something Lampard will be happy about, but Pulisic’s character is set to be tested as the season develops.
Pulisic clearly has a huge amount of talent as he demonstrated during his time with Dortmund but only time will tell as to whether he can transfer his performance to the Premier League.
Bobbie Jackson is a reporter with an in-depth knowledge of football at all levels. A Blackpool supporter, Bobbie is also a keen rugby union, boxing, MMA and UFC follower.