‘Extremely childish!’ - Chelsea & USMNT star Christian Pulisic blasts Gregg Berhalter vs Gio Reyna feud
- United States without permanent coach at present
- Previous boss caught up in off-field storm
- Players eager to keep focus locked on games
WHAT HAPPENED? The United States men’s national team is currently without a permanent head coach, with Berhalter’s contract expiring at the end of a Qatar 2022 campaign that ended in the round of 16. Plenty of unfortunate headlines have been made since then, with the Reyna family dragged into a debate that saw them make allegations of a domestic dispute involving Berhalter before it was revealed that they have – since 2016 - been pestering U.S. Soccer regarding more playing time and other benefits for their Borussia Dortmund star son.
WHAT THEY SAID: Pulisic has done his best to steer clear of the drama, but admits that some unfortunate behaviour has done those involved few favours. The Chelsea winger has told ESPN: “I'm not here to appoint the next manager - it's not my job - and whoever it is I'm going to play and give it 100%. Everything that happened with Gregg first of all has been handled in an extremely childish manner. I think we've seen what's been going on. I think it's childish, it's youth soccer, people complaining about playing time. I don't want to go too far into that, but I think Gregg has been extremely unfortunate to get into the position he is in now.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Anthony Hudson remains in temporary charge of the USMNT for now, as decisions are made on upcoming appointments, and Pulisic hopes that definitive calls will be made soon as possible – with the U.S. readying themselves for CONCACAF Nations League clashes with Grenada and El Salvador in late March. Pulisic added: “Do I feel like we should just wait and wait? I don't think it's necessary, because we are not in a phase like we were after not qualifying [for the 2018 World Cup] where we needed a complete rebuild. We don't need a bunch of new guys coming in. We have a strong core in my opinion - people have seen that and we need to carry on with that. It's a tough one for me because we should continue that as soon as we can and build off this World Cup, which I think had a lot of positives in it. We want to get going with that as soon as we can.”
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WHAT NEXT? Pulisic, with 56 international caps to his name, will be hoping to play a prominent role for the United States heading forward regardless of who they have at the helm, with the talented 24-year-old back to full fitness at club level in what has been another testing domestic campaign for him.