Thomas Tuchel has insisted Christian Pulisic remains central to his plans at Chelsea.
The United States forward is still waiting for his first Premier League start under the new Blues boss, but Tuchel insisted the 22-year-old retains a big role at Stamford Bridge.
Pulisic has been linked with a move away from west London this summer should his situation not change, and the pacy forward would not be short on suitors.
But Tuchel admitted hoping Pulisic will bide his time and seize his big chance to thrive under him at Chelsea, whenever that moment arrives.
Asked if he would let Pulisic leave in the summer if the former Dortmund star fails to become a regular starter, Tuchel said: “There are a lot of ifs in your question! If he starts tomorrow (against Leeds), if he does brilliantly, and if he starts again against Atletico and if he scores two goals, maybe he is captain next year.
“I don’t know. I know what you mean but this is too far ahead, we have so many games.
“He is in my plans and he is an important player. And he has the potential to be decisive for us from the bench and as a beginner.
“Is it necessary that he can prove it? Yes. This is my job. And his job is to be ready, like everybody else. And when the moment comes you have to be ready.
“This is what you sign up for at a club like Chelsea, there is no difference between Christian and anybody else.”Asked if he is confident Pulisic will be patient in the way Tuchel wants, the Blues boss said: “I hope so. When you sign and play for Chelsea, it is part of the job description of a player to be impatient and patient at the same time.
“All of my players are competitors and want to play every single minute, and this is what they all show every day, the hunger and the desire. This is what Christian shows.
“And at the same time when you are not selected by the coach, you have to also be patient, not lose confidence, keep on going and be ready any time, because it can happen at any time.
“So in the beginning he was a bit unlucky because we knew how much of an impact he could have off the bench, and we used this power and these strengths from him.
He has the potential to be decisive for us.Thomas Tuchel on Christian Pulisic
“When it was possible for him to start, he was unavailable for one game and the other came a bit too soon. Barnsley, it was a difficult game for him.
“So it was not too easy but in the end it’s the credit for the players always and the quality from the players that shine on the pitch.
“If you turn it around this is also the duty of the players to show up and to really earn that they play.
“This is what Christian does, and so it can happen any minute, any game.
“And at some point it’s just this, I have nothing to complain.
“I feel him very positive in the last days, and doing the best out of his situation. And this is what he can do.”
Tuchel’s predecessor Frank Lampard had certainly held the opinion that his squad was too bloated and would require trimming in future transfer windows.
But ex-Paris St Germain boss Tuchel said: “We have the perfect size of squad. The only thing I’m missing is the possibility of five substitutes to use more players because for many years it has been a concern of mine.
“This is the only regret because I have players I would normally like to reward for their effort and attitude, but the size of the squad is actually perfect.”