Christian Pulisic has been told he should be a leader in the United States squad, not making “fear” admissions, with Alejandro Moreno looking for more from the Chelsea star at international level.
The highly-rated playmaker is just 20 years of age but already regarded as a talismanic presence within the USA ranks.
Such a standing brings with it added expectation, with Pulisic having shown what he is capable of during a productive spell at Borussia Dortmund and subsequent move to the Premier League.
He has, however, faced criticism for comments he made in the wake of a 3-0 friendly defeat to Mexico.
Pulisic said: “We still play with fear against them, and that is what I can't really live with.
“That needs to change.”
Three-time MLS Cup winner and former Venezuela international Moreno believes it is up to Pulisic to help change the mindset in the USMNT camp.
He wants to see leadership qualities from a key figure in Gregg Berhalter’s plans, not excuses.
Moreno told ESPN FC: “First of all I would ask Christian and I’d say ‘okay, you’re in that locker room, you’re in the preparation for this game, you are, by definition, if not by age but by definition because of your stature of a player, you are one of the leaders in this team, you are the reference point’.
“So maybe, don’t leave it until after the game to tell me how you guys played with fear but do something before it happens and address it before it happens, because then it’s too late, it’s too late.
“It’s too late for the Gold Cup, it’s too late for this game and it will be too late as the games come by between the US and Mexico.
“I just find that it’s a reaction that, it’s probably one you would expect if you think of looking for reasons as to why it didn’t go well.
“Maybe he doesn’t see it as an excuse, maybe he’s just simply stating the fact that he senses that the team has fear playing Mexico.
“If that’s the case, if that’s indeed the truth, never mind the talent disparity, never mind not playing out from the back, you have a bigger issue, a bigger hurdle that you have to get over before you start thinking about playing out from the back and before you start thinking about the talent disparity.”
Pulisic has earned 32 caps for his country, netting 13 goals, and will be hoping to bring more to the cause in America’s next outing when they take in a clash with Uruguay.