Emerson Hyndman believes that his experience in captaining the United States’ Under 20 side at the World Cup this summer in New Zealand will help him grow as a player.
The 19 year-old midfielder had an outstanding tournament as the Americans reached the last eight before losing on penalties to Serbia and told US Soccer that he had really enjoyed the opportunity to lead his country into their first taste of the competition.
It was nice to be the captain of a World Cup team. Any time you can help a group, especially your teammates that you hang around with all the team, in a game is always a joy. And this is such a great group, they’re all leaders anyway. All I had to do was help out a little bit and represent us.
This was the first for a lot of us. Qualifying, we thought was long at the time. But to really prepare mentally for each and every game in a World Cup is much different.
It’s obviously much more competitive in terms of every team in the World Cup qualified from different regions, and they each have different styles. So I think this experience in preparing for and playing these different opponents will help all of us in the long run.
Hyndman made his Fulham debut in the opening game of last season at Ipswich having made his name with a series of eye-catching performances in the club’s under 18 side, who reached the FA Youth Cup final. The young Texan did struggle for form and fitness at times and his club campaign was finished unfortunately early as he damaged his collarbone on international duty, but there can be no doubting Hyndman’s potential.
Deployed in the more advanced attacking midfield role that he had played before making the switch from his homeland to English football, Hyndman scored in back-to-back games against Myanmar and New Zealand as the USA started their campaign strongly. He also converted a spot-kick with commendable coolness against the Serbians having seen his previous penalty saved in the final group game. Hyndman has already been given a glimpse of life at senior international level by Jurgen Klinsmann and the prospect of him playing alongside Lasse Vigen Christensen in the Fulham midfield next season is one to really savour.