We can get a bit carried away with Hype Trains here Stateside, but Christian Pulisic’s has been deemed Safe For Travelers for close to two years now.
His form in 2016-17 with Borussia Dortmund would seem to echo those claims in spades.
WhoScored, which charts stats on just about everything in leagues the world over, recently put together its teenage Best XI in the top five leagues in Europe this season to this point. Its player rating algorithm is fairly complex (it involves 200 raw stats), but it more or less charts a player’s influence on a game. Needless to say, younger players almost invariably have less influence – blame it on the precociousness of age – and so their player ratings averages are lower than veterans across the board. Nothing surprising there.
Still, anything in the high 6’s for an 18-year-old is worthy of praise. Ever think you’d see a Best XI like this with an American in it?
GRAPHIC: Best-rated Teenage XI in Europe’s top 5 leagues this season — Which youngster has impressed you this term? pic.twitter.com/vsTmDyHiQD
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) March 22, 2017
Yes. That’s good. Sharing an XI with Gigi Donnarumma and Kylian Mbappe and teammate Ousmane Dembele? Yes. That’s very good.
Pulisic’s managed three goals and five assists for the BVB first team in just north of 1,000 minutes, and he’s also scored a goal and had two more assists in about 500 Champions League minutes as well. But he’s also averaging a key pass (one leading to a shot) per game, about a shot and a half, and a pair of successful dribbles per outing. That all indicates goal-dangerous verve and a confidence that belies his years.
In other words, Pulisic plays like he’s had about five more years of experience than he actually does.
In an interview with Colin Cowherd earlier this month, USMNT coach Bruce Arena noted that Pulisic will “not be a role player” for the national team in the coming march to the 2018 World Cup. That’s encouraging news, because at least in terms of form at the highest of levels, nobody – not Bobby Wood, not Geoff Cameron, not Jozy Altidore – nobody is on better form that Pulisic at the moment.
Now about that full-time move to the No. 10 role…