An American in Dortmund

Christian Pulisic Sends Hints Of Where He Should Play

With the end of the season passed and a long, World Cup-less off-season awaiting him, we will have time in the coming weeks to assess Christian Pulisic. This site will break down how he has progressed over the season, whether we can say his season was a success, and whether he was as large a benefit to Dortmund as a potential transfer fee would suggest.

There is time for that later, and this week this column will focus on a sentence.

The official Bundesliga English site conducted an interview with the Hershey native asking him to reflect on his season and performance. After a lengthy discussion of his training and preparation for matches, he is asked about his best position. This has been a topic of frequent discussion by Pulisic fans, as he tends to play centrally for the U.S. national team as opposed to wide with BVB.

Pulisic responds that he is an “attacking midfielder” because he is focused on going forward towards goal. This is a fairly innocent comment and encouraging to fans that Pulisic has an eye for goal.

And yet, it is easy to read further into this and the interview. If Pulisic really thinks he is best suited for attacking and facing goal, is he best served playing on the wing? BVB no longer has a style, as the Klopp-Tuchel style for the moment seems to be abandoned in favour of whichever style the new manager adopts. However, in the pressing, positive play BVB has adopted so often Pulisic as a winger requires him to provide defensive cover often. In fact, early in the season, I remember praising his work rate in tracking back with fast players down the wing when the Black-and-Yellow were dispossessed.

If Pulisic was moved to the middle, he would be allowed to have that eye for goal and focus on moving forward. In the same interview, he notes that he wants to be aggressive and not focus as much on possession, as “plenty of players” can keep possession. If BVB moulded him in the model of Mario Goetze he would have to be more diverse than just focusing on goal but it is obvious by his comments he feels he could play in the middle just as successfully as the wing.

What does all of this mean? Probably nothing much, simply some comments reiterating that Pulisic sees himself as a goalscorer and someone who wants to create his chances. Maybe it is also a warning to the next BVB manager or his national team manager (or his next club manager?) that attempts to move him back into the midfield are misguided.