Chelsea coach Frank Lampard said Christian Pulisic deserved to carry the club’s number 10 this season.
In NBC’s Inside The Mind program, Lampard revealed that he had called the striker personally to break the news.
Pulisic had a mixed start at Stamford Bridge, with injuries limiting his impact, although he made 34 appearances in all competitions with 11 goals and 10 assists in his favour.
The former Borussia Dortmund striker, who carried the number 22 last season, has now received the number 10 after William’s departure for Arsenal.
“I wanted him to get it because I felt that he deserved and wanted it,” said Lampard.
“When he came here last year, William was almost the man waiting to take the number 10 shirt, and I think it was only fair that he took it with his experience.
“When he opened up, what Christian gave in his first year more than guaranteed that he would keep the shirt and what it meant.
Chelsea travels to Brighton on Monday for the Premier League game of the new season.
Lampard will be under immense pressure to improve on last season’s third place after spending over £200 million on the transfer market over the summer.