SAN JOSE, Calif. -- United States manager Bruce Arena said midfielder Christian Pulisic reminds him of the team's all-time scoring leader Landon Donovan, but that Pulisic "has a long way to go before he gets to stand next to Landon."
Certainly at club level, Pulisic has already surpassed Donovan in some respects. While Donovan suffered through three unhappy spells in Germany -- two with Bayer Leverkusen and one loan stint with Bayern Munich -- Pulisic has flourished with Borussia Dortmund. He has already set several age-related scoring records in the Bundesliga, while also impressing in the UEFA Champions League.
On Friday, Pulisic will try to continue his impressive run of form when the U.S. face Honduras in a crucial World Cup qualifier, and he figures to be a critical piece of the U.S. attack.
"I think he continues to make progress as a player and a person," Arena said of Pulisic at Thursday's news conference. "I think his last couple of months with his club team in Germany have been good.
"He has very little experience at the international level, and he's going to need to get a taste of it to continue to grow as a player. But he has all the tools to become a very good player. I look forward to seeing how he reacts in these next two games."
Donovan remains arguably the best ever U.S. national team player, with his 57 goals and 58 assists both records for the program. He also showed notable longevity in an international career that spanned 14 years.
"In Landon we saw a player who had a tremendous career at both club and international levels, and Christian is just starting," added Arena. "We don't know what it's going to look like 10 years down the road, but he certainly at this age he reminds me a lot of Landon."
Pulisic was appreciative of the comparison.
"[Donovan] was an idol of mine," Pulisic told reporters prior to Thursday's training session. "It's obviously an honor, but I'm my own player as well, so I'm just trying to do it for me."