When it comes to Football Twitter jargon, a “jailed” player is someone who is frozen out by the manager and isn’t getting exactly the kind of playing time his devout fanbase would prefer him to have.
Although Christian Pulisic has played every game for Chelsea this season, he has not been on the pitch for more than an hour in any game.
Thomas Tuchel’s appointment was supposed to be good for Pulisic, who had worked under him at Dortmund. However, poor performances and injuries haven’t helped the American.
The player was too often in the treatment room or on the bench and was generally forgotten by the business end of last season.
Pulisic had not been in now-ex-manager Tuchel’s plans and wanted to leave the club during this summer transfer window, but was not allowed to do so.
The winger was not handed a start for five league games, which was baffling to supporters because fellow attacking players like Mason Mount and Kai Havertz haven’t exactly been lighting the stage on fire either.
With poor performances all across the pitch, barring new signing Sterling, USMNT fans could not fathom why the winger was not starting.
Even more astonishing was that even when subbed on, Pulisic was deployed at the right wing-back role in one of the games.
Pulisic’s performance and the subsequent manager treatment have divided social media.
His national team fans sense injustice whereas his club ones think the decision to not play Pulisic is justified.
His backers have condemned the treatment, as they rightly want the US international to play as much as possible before the World Cup in Qatar later this year.
On the other hand are Chelsea supporters who have seen the player play every week and trust the club and manager’s decision.
And now the anti-Pulisic gang has a new member. Enter Thierry Henry, who offered their thoughts on the player while covering the Champions League games for US-based CBS Sports.
The ex-Barcelona player scoffed at the hashtag before demanding more from Pulisic, “sorry, what was the hashtag again? Free Pulisic?! He needs to free himself.”
The Arsenal legend made a chef analogy as he did not question the American’s talents, but rather his willingness and work rate, “It’s about you to come and deliver. You can be the best chef in the world but if you don’t put anything on the table, what are you? Not much.”
With only 25 goals scored in 122 appearances by Pulisic, we can see where Henry’s frustration is coming from.
The pundit wants Pulisic to put in performances that make him a first name on the team sheet.
With more attacking players at Chelsea in the form of Broja, Auba and Sterling, opportunities will not come easy and any sort of playing time will have to be maximized in order to start the next game.
With Tuchel now sacked, Pulisic will be hoping that he can turn the tide around and make a success out of what is left of his Chelsea career.