United States national team player Brenden Aaronson admitted the return of Christian Pulisic has given the squad a “confidence boost” ahead of Friday’s decisive World Cup qualifier against Mexico.
The Chelsea winger had been in doubt for the November international break after sustaining an ankle injury during the match against Honduras in September. Pulisic recently returned to the pitch for the Premier League club, entering as a substitute for in both the 1-0 victory against Malmo in the Champions League and the 1-1 draw against Burnley.
"With Christian being back, I mean, for the whole team, we know how much quality has. He's been with the national team for a long time, doing his thing, and he was here through the last qualifying and he did a fantastic job then,” said Aaronson.
“He means so much to our team, so it's awesome having him back. It's like another confidence boost just having him here. Christian coming back in, it's massive for the group just having him around. In general, like, just being a good lad, being around him, and being a leader off the field.
"And we know when he gets on the field, whether he starts or has to come off the bench, then he's a player we can rely on to put his all into the team and create chances and help us if we need him to get the win."
USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter has said Pulisic is not expected to feature for the full 90 minutes of either qualifying match, saying: “We're also not willing to risk anything."
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel is not as excited about his national team appearance as, stressing caution over Pulisic’s time on the pitch.
"I hope that they don't overuse him and are responsible enough," Tuchel previously told reporters. "Christian still feels some pain. It is a matter of pain management. It's not a matter of a re-injury or being still injured. It's just still painful. He has tried hard.
"Hopefully everybody, including himself, is responsible and doesn't get carried away by emotions and by helping his country to win a super important match. Hopefully it all goes well and the minutes will elevate him and he will come back stronger."
Pulisic was among the ten USMNT players that took part in Monday’s training session.
The United States holds the advantage against Mexico, having triumphed against their North American rival in their last two meetings.
"We got the best of them the two times before, but this is something totally different," Aaronson continued. "It's World Cup qualifying and it's a different kind of beast, so we've just got to keep doing what we're doing."