Christian Pulisic is feeling fitter than ever and hoping the first full pre-season of his Chelsea career will help him start the season in top form.

The American was part of the Blues squad which travelled to the Republic of Ireland for a pre-season training camp as part of preparations for the 2020/21 campaign.

Pulisic just missed out on our previous summer trip to the same venue near Dublin in 2019, as he met up with his new team-mates for the first time later that summer, for the second part of pre-season, in Japan.

Then every player had a significantly shortened pre-season period last year, as the delayed finish to 2019/20 due to the suspension of football during the Covid-19 pandemic meant there were just six weeks before our first game of the next term, and Pulisic missed what little there was due to an injury picked up in the 2020 FA Cup final.

All of that means, for the first time since he arrived at Chelsea, the 22-year-old has had a full pre-season of training with the team to prepare for the season, a situation he believes can only benefit him in 2021/22.

‘I think that’s going to be a big positive for me, so I’m looking forward to the start of the season,’ said Pulisic.

‘This year is my first real full pre-season at Chelsea and it’s just given me a good chance to get my full fitness and for me to get 100 per cent fit and ready to play 90 minutes once the season begins.

‘That’s the aim for me, just trying to get my body in a good place where I can be available as much as possible this season.

‘Hitting the ground running at the start of the season is the goal, of course. It’s nice to be able to have a full pre-season this time and get nice and fit and be 100 per cent ready in time for the start of the season.’

The winger is also seeing what he has been missing out on in previous pre-seasons, enjoying meeting up with his team-mates again, even if he admits it feels a bit weird to be back to business as usual and preparing for a new campaign so soon after that incredible night in Porto less than two months ago.

‘It’s great to be back and see the guys again and getting ready for a new season. In a way it is a bit surreal, it’s starting to feel like, just straight back to work, that kind of feeling, almost like it never happened. But it’s great to be back and see the guys again and be getting ready for a new season.

‘It’s been really good so far. I think it’s been a good start, I’m starting to feel fit again and ready to go and I think the team’s looking good. It’s been just what we need, we can just focus on what we need to do to get ready for the start of the season.

‘We had the game against Peterborough as well, so we started really well by getting a win, and it was a very strong performance as well.’