Chelsea winger Christian Pulisic has described himself as ‘super close’ to returning from injury, having missed the club’s last eight games in all competitions with a muscle tear.

Pulisic hasn’t featured since Chelsea’s New Year’s Day draw with Brighton, but the American has given fans eager for his return reason to be hopeful.

A message from the 21-year-old on social media read: “Very thankful for your support. Working so hard and super close to a return.” Pulisic has had a difficult start to his Chelsea career since arriving last summer in a £58m transfer from Borussia Dortmund that had been agreed the preceding January.

Considered by many to be a replacement for Eden Hazard – a tall order given his young age and being new to English football – Pulisic has had a difficult first season at Chelsea.

After starting three out of four Premier League games in August and playing more than half an hour as substitute in the other, the player lost his place in September and was benched for the whole month other than a Carabao Cup outing against lower league Grimsby.

Pulisic then scored a hat-trick on his return to the starting lineup in late October, following that up with a goal in each of the next two games. But a run of poor results again saw him lose his place just before Christmas, with injury to strike him down soon after.

Earlier this week, manager Frank Lampard described Pulisic as ‘desperate’ to get fit after what has been a ‘frustrating’ spell on the sidelines. Speaking in December just over a week prior to dropping Pulisic for the second time this season, Lampard hailed the winger’s quality and potential.

“We’ve got a player in Christian that is really exciting and when you see this type of player in the modern day and you see their quality. He has got the ability to go on to the extra level, which is the top level of world football,” Lampard enthused at the time.