Christian Pulisic: Last eight months have gone way too fast for me

JACKSONVILLE, Florida -- The last eight months have gone "too fast" for 17-year-old United States international Christian Pulisic, the Borussia Dortmund midfielder told ESPN FC in a wide-ranging conversation on the eve of the U.S.'s World Cup qualifier against Trinidad and Tobago.

Pulisic broke into Dortmund's first team in January. Since then, he's compiled a series of impressive firsts. The Pennsylvania native became the youngest player in Bundesliga to score twice in Germany's top flight.

He's the youngest to score twice for the U.S. in the same game -- a feat he accomplished in last week's 6-0 drubbing against St. Vincent and the Grenadines. He also became the youngest American male to score in a qualifier in that match.

It's been a whirlwind, to say the least.

"It's gone way too fast for me, I would've never expected this," Pulisic said. "The whole thing at Dortmund went fast, and then the national team comes. I just can't believe it. But I'm very excited about it."

Despite Pulisic's breakout match against the overmatched, already defeated St. Vincent team, U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann has strongly hinted since that Pulisic will continue to come off the bench, at least when it comes to Tuesday's game. The U.S. still has not qualified for the final round of regional qualifying for Russia 2018.

"It's important to give younger players time and have that patience," Klinsmann said during his prematch press conference at EverBank Field.

"When moments are there to give them their minutes or a start, it's not an issue. We just have to make sure it kind of all comes at the right time. We're all excited about a very special talent. [But] he has a long, long way to go."

Still, Klinsmann has clearly been impressed by the youngster.

"He doesn't seem like he's behind physically in any way," Klinsmann said. "Some kids it takes until they're 21, 22, 23 to get that stability, that strength. He seems to be an early developer. But again, there's also the mental growth. We want to make sure that we're not overshooting him."

And mentally, Pulisic seems wise beyond his years.

"He's smart," U.S. captain Michael Bradley told reporters before the team trained on Monday afternoon. "He knows what's going on. You can have real conversations with him. You can talk football with him. He has opinions, he pays attention, and I think that those are all important things."

Pulisic made his senior debut in a 4-0 qualifying win against Guatemala in March. He was also named to the U.S. roster for June's Copa America Centenario. Although he played in just three of six games during the tournament -- 87 minutes in total -- as the Americans finished fourth, it was an invaluable experience for him.

Klinsmann is hoping he can use it to continue to make progress in Germany, but it won't be easy. Dortmund brought in several attacking players during the summer transfer window, including German World Cup winners Mario Gotze and Andre Schurrle.

"We're hoping when he gets back to Dortmund he gets his minutes there as well," Klinsmann said. "They're fully loaded right now in their roster. So we bring him along, and when I have the feeling I hold him back a little bit, I hold him back. And when I have the feeling to give him a go, give him a go."

Pulisic, for his part, is just trying to take it as it comes.

"Of course I kind of sit back and reflect on these last seven or eight months," Pulisic said. "But when it's all going so fast, it's hard to think about. You just want to keep going."