Stuart Holden backs USMNT World Cup run if Christian Pulisic delivers 'big-time'

Pulisic carries a huge weight of expectation.
Pulisic carries a huge weight of expectation. / Brad Smith/ISI Photos/GettyImages

Former United States and Bolton Wanderers midfielder Stuart Holden has backed his nation to embark on a deep run at the 2022 World Cup, if Christian Pulisic finds his best form.

Pulisic heads to Qatar as the star of the USMNT and has already chalked up 21 goals and 12 assists in 52 caps at just 24 years old.

At club level, things haven't always been so simple, with a number of injuries slowing his development, while he's found a regular starting spot hard to come by since trading Borussia Dortmund for Chelsea in 2019.

However, Pulisic's quality remains unquestioned and should he bring his best to Qatar, he might well lead the USMNT to a successful return to the world stage.

"If we see big-time Pulisic, this US team's going to make a run," Holden told FS1's The Herd on Tuesday.

"I think if we're going to make a deep run, and I'm talking about getting past the round-of-16, getting to the quarter-finals, we need a star. Pulisic's our star. He's capable of doing things that nobody else on the team are capable of doing."

Nicknamed 'Captain America', Pulisic is capable of moments few others wearing the Stars and Stripes can match, with his speed and skill menacing for opposition defenders.

"In just one play, he can make a goal," Holden added. 'That's what's going to separate these games, which are going to be close. 

"Wales are a good team, Iran are a good team, England are a very good team. The United States are capable of beating any of them but it's going to come down to really tight, little decisive moments in games. 

"And Pulisic is a guy who can deliver those most consistently, at a high level and give you that moment you think 'wow'."

The USMNT open their Group B campaign against Wales on Monday before fixtures against England and Iran.

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