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Fulham's Emerson Hyndman revels in leadership role at Under-20 World Cup

The USA midfielder captained Tab Ramos' side to the quarter-finals in New Zealand.

Fulham midfielder Emerson Hyndman believes he has grown as a player after captaining the USA at the Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand.

Hyndman, 19, was speaking to US Soccer after his side were knocked out of the tournament at the quarter-final stage this past weekend following a dramatic 6-5 defeat on penalties to Serbia.

The Fulham prospect, who converted his spot-kick during the shootout, impressed throughout their run to the last eight as the team’s midfield engine, while scoring in back-to-back wins over Myanmar and hosts New Zealand, respectively, in the opening two group games.

However, as one of just two members of Tab Ramos’ squad with a senior cap to his name, it was the Texas-native’s leadership and professional both on and off the pitch which earned him particular praise over recent weeks – traits which he himself was pleased to be able to showcase.

“It was nice to be the captain of a World Cup team,” said Hyndman. “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."

Continuing on what he could take from the tournament for the future, Hyndman added: “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.”

 2014-15 Championship GoalsAssistsTotal Key PassesTotal PassesPassing AccuracyTotal TacklesInterceptionsTouchesBall RecoveriesDispossessedAppearancesMins Played
Emerson Hyndman 0 0 9 415 89% 16 6 496 36 5 9 650

Hyndman made 11 total appearances for Fulham last season after earning his professional debut in August, as a broken collarbone suffered at the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship prevent him from becoming more of a regular fixture in the side over the second half of the campaign.

The one-time capped American, who earned his USA debut in September’s 1-0 win over Czech Republic, also saw former Whites manager Felix Magath compare his passing skills to those of Andrea Pirlo amid his emergence, before later being linked with a move to German giants Borussia Dortmund [h/t Goal USA].

With his current deal expiring in 2016, it remains to be seen whether the Championship club will have to fight off interest in his signature this summer but, regardless, his World Cup form suggests he is primed for a breakthrough 2015-16 campaign if he can keep clear of injuries.

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