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Christian Pulisic has shown that he is more than good enough to fend off added competition for places at Chelsea, says Craig Burley, with the American urged to continue delivering the “end product” that will allow him to star in a “top heavy” squad.
Frank Lampard has invested heavily in the current transfer window, with the Blues boss overseeing an elaborate freshening up of his ranks.
Big money has been spent on more attacking talent, with Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz joining the fold at Stamford Bridge.
The new boys in west London will be eager to nail down regular roles, but established stars will not be giving up minutes without a fight.
United States international Pulisic falls into that category, with the 21-year-old having shown across a productive debut campaign in England that he can become a talismanic presence for Premier League heavyweights.
Burley expects the promising forward to rise to any challenge put to him, with the former Chelsea midfielder telling ESPN FC: “I think he’s good enough and has shown that. Towards the end of the season he was arguably the first name on the team sheet.
“He is just going to have to play well. That’s what you want when you’re at a big club. You have to play well because when you look over your shoulder, you have competition for places. That’s great.
“You look at Liverpool at the moment, we are seeing some criticism of Liverpool – albeit how successful they have been – that so far Jurgen Klopp has not gone out and spent big to bring people in to challenge Sadio Mane, challenge Mo Salah, to challenge Roberto Firmino, to challenge all these players to be better than they were last season.
“I think that’s what Chelsea have at the moment, they have players that are going to challenge the likes of Christian Pulisic, who if you have three or four average games then you are out of the team.
“But he has easily shown in his time at Chelsea that when he is fully fit, he is good enough to hold down a place in this team. He has been excellent but Frank Lampard will be saying to him ‘I want more of the same, I want to see the change of pace, I want to see the taking people on and I want to see what you showed at the end of last season as well – that better end product’.
“We saw the goals from Christian Pulisic, which were excellent – the one at Liverpool, the one at Wembley – so if he reproduces that, not an issue.”
Pulisic’s 2019-20 campaign ended on an injury low in the FA Cup final, but he will be among those offering Lampard a selection headache when the new Premier League season gets underway.
On the posers the Blues boss now faces, Burley added: “Welcome to management!
“He has got a good demeanour about him, Frank Lampard, he got good experience at Derby, he got good experience last year. But revolving and rotating these players is not going to be easy.
“Part of the job now is convincing a player that the word is ‘rotation’. It used to be in the old days it was ‘dropped’, ‘binned’. It’s hard but I think players get used to it, not playing all the time. It used to be 1-11 every week if fit, get back out there and play.
“But it is going to be something of interest for everybody because they have been top-heavy in terms of the positions they have been signing in.