UNCLE SAM has never had so many stars earning their stripes in the Champions League.

Over the years, only a handful of American players have ever cut the mustard on this side of the Atlantic.

Christian Pulisic is leading a new wave of European-based US youngsters

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Christian Pulisic is leading a new wave of European-based US youngstersCredit: Getty

But now, Chelsea ace Christian Pulisic is leading a new wave of European-based US youngsters who are giving fresh hope to national team boss Gregg Berhalter.

A record 10 Champions League players are in his squad to take on Wales in tonight’s Cardiff friendly.

Alongside 22-year-old Pulisic, Barcelona’s Sergino Dest (20), Bayern Munich’s Chris Richards (23), RB Leipzig’s Tyler Adams (21) Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie (22) and Borussia Dortmund’s Giovanni Reyna – the 17-year-old son of former Sunderland midfielder Claudio – are all thrilling Berhalter.

With the MLS heading into the play-offs, Berhalter’s team is made up entirely of those playing outside the US.

And he spends a lot of his time channel-hopping on his TV to watch his kids of America sparkling on Euro nights.

 Berhalter declared: “I am a firm believer that the measure of talent in any given country is  based on the number of players that you have playing in the Champions  League.

“It is exciting when you have  five guys on a matchday  that you can watch by flipping back and forth.

“It is now  that you watch just one game every couple of weeks. Now they are coming fast and furious.”

Former USA boss Jurgen Klinsmann was blasted by some fans after suggesting Americans may be better off heading to Europe for their football  education.

But Berhalter’s crop may be about to prove Tottenham’s former German striker right.

Berhalter also has high hopes for Manchester City keeper Zack Steffen (25), Valencia midfielder Yunus Musah (17) – who has played for England’s youth teams but was born in the USA – Leicester’s Chituru Odunze (18), Wolves’ Owen Otasowie (19), PSV’s Richie Ledezma (20) and Barcelona winger Konrad de la Fuente (19).

Ex-US defender Alexi Lalas has seen enough false dawns to last a  lifetime.

But he told SunSport: “I am hard pressed to find a moment over the  last 25 years when there has been more optimism, not just specific to the  amount of talent available, but where they are all playing.

“We have to remember this is all theoretical at the moment, it’s all on  paper so there is cautious optimism.

“Just because you have good players it  doesn’t always translate to the national team.

“But don’t forget there were dark, negative times after the epic failure  of missing out on the Russia World Cup.

“We are in a good place right now. It’s going to be fun watching these players.”

Frank Lampard predicts Christian Pulisic will ‘get even better’ as USA International continues to impress for Chelsea after Premier League restart



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