Friday 30 December 2016, 14:16

Pulisic: I've always wanted to play like Figo

Christian Pulisic has revealed he modelled his game on Luis Figo’s and is sure USA will be at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™. The Americans began the Hexagonal phase of CONCACAF qualifying for the competition with a 2-1 loss at home to Mexico and a 4-0 defeat in Costa Rica. Those results left them bottom and prompted US Soccer to remove Jurgen Klinsmann from the hot-seat and replace him with Bruce Arena.

“I’m very confident in our team,” the 18-year-old Borussia Dortmund attacker told US Soccer. “I think we’re going to have a great year in qualifying. I do feel very confident, and I trust in our team that we’re going to get the job done and qualify and be ready for the World Cup 2018.”

Pulisic, who can operate out wide, as a central playmaker or up front, has broken multiple age records – including becoming the youngest American to score in a World Cup qualifier – in his infant career. The Hershey, Pennsylvania native has tried to incorporate the qualities of one football legend and another basketball one into his game.

“Luis Figo was my favourite player growing up,” said Pulisic. “I always watched him and wanted to be a similar player. He was awesome to watch.

“Lebron James is my favourite basketball player. He’s so dominant out there. I think can learn a lot from him.”

USA’s Russia 2018 qualifying campaign resumes in March, when they are at home to Honduras and away to Panama. The Stars and Stripes are bidding to qualify for an eighth straight World Cup.

USA beat Portugal and Poland to a place in the knockout phase at Korea/Japan 2002, before overcoming arch-rivals Mexico 2-0 in the Round of 16 courtesy of goals from Brian McBride and Landon Donovan. The US then gave an admirable account of themselves in the quarter-finals, but a fine performance from Oliver Kahn and an unanswered Michael Ballack header sent Germany through.