News
United States v Honduras

McKennie tips Pulisic to bounce back as USMNT star opens up on his own difficult moment

23:47 EAT 01/02/2022
Pulisic McKennie USMNT
The Juventus midfielder backed his longtime friend to be the team's spark going forward

Weston McKennie says that the entire U.S. men's national team is ready to support Christian Pulisic as he looks to find his form as the Juventus midfielder opened up on his own low moment earlier in qualifying.

Pulisic came to USMNT camp for World Cup qualifiers amid a difficult moment at Chelsea as he battles to earn more playing time in Thomas Tuchel's attack.

And McKennie, who relied on the support of his team-mates after being dismissed by the team in the fall for a rules violation, says that the group knows how to stick together and support each other during the frustrating times.

What's the situation with Pulisic?

Pulisic joined up with the USMNT at a tough moment as he has fallen down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge.

The winger hasn't played as much as he would like and, when he has, he's been deployed either centrally or in an unfamiliar wingback role.

Pulisic has struggled in each of the USMNT's first two games of the window, which has seen the team defeat El Salvador 1-0 before falling to Canada 2-0 on Sunday.

What did McKennie say?

"A lot of people will say what they want, a lot of people have their own opinions and I think, as a player, you can only truly understand what another player might think or what he's going through," he said.

"All of us have had our ups and downs, all of us have had difficult times, and the most important thing is that we're there for each other and obviously, with the situation that he's in, maybe the amount of playing time that's involved, it's just catching his footing again and building his confidence.

"I think, in general, he is still an important piece because he's one of those types of players that might have one spark in a game, he could maybe not do anything all game, and then have one spark. He's one of the players that are very unpredictable to the opponents and I think he's just someone that adds another type of dangerous and one-on-one ability in the final third.

"Everyone's gonna have their opinions. Everyone's gonna say what they want to say, but the team here and the staff we all have his back and we all just want to put him in the best position to succeed."

McKennie's own lesson

McKennie went on to reflect on his lowest point as he opened up on being dismissed from USMNT camp last fall.

The Juventus midfielder was sent home for violating protocol, but has since used that moment as a turning point for club and country.

He has played his way into being an irreplaceable presence with Juventus while being one of the USMNT's brightest performers in the games since he was dismissed.

"I think it was just a learning lesson," he said. "I think as I went back, it was just important for me to put my head down and work and Juventus definitely helped me out with that a lot. I struggled for a bit, lost my confidence and, like I said it was a learning lesson.

"I felt like let my team down and let my country down and my family and myself, so whenever I got called back, I was just going to try and rebuild the relationships and the trust with everyone and just perform and show that I'm there for the team and I'm there to try and win.

"I think the best thing as a person to do is to be available. I think that was my biggest thing: just to be available and not have a situation like that again."

Further reading