US Under-20 boss Tab Ramos hails 'professional' Fulham teenager Emerson Hyndman

The emerging midfielder has been named the USA's captain for the upcoming Under-20 World Cup.

US Under-20 head coach Tab Ramos has hailed Emerson Hyndman’s leadership qualities after naming the Fulham midfielder captain for the team’s upcoming World Cup campaign.

Ramos was speaking to US Soccer ahead of the tournament in New Zealand, which runs from May 30 to June 20, where his side will face group games against Myanmar, the hosts and Ukraine.

The USA’s slick midfield engine, Hyndman stood out as the team’s star performer during qualification and, having seen the respect he carries within the squad, Ramos believes he is the ideal candidate to lead them to success this summer.

“We’ve been discussing with the staff, trying to figure out who we thought was going to be a good leader for us,” the former US international said. “We’re very fortunate with this group that we have definitely three or four guys who could have taken that role but we felt that Emerson was the right person to lead the way.

“He’s very professional on and off the field and the type of person that US Soccer would like to have as a leader. That was definitely a good choice.

“We’re happy with that and happy to move and start getting prepared for the World Cup.”

Hyndman himself was delighted to be bestowed with the armband, adding: “It’s obviously an honour to be captain of World Cup team. He [Ramos] wanted me to be more of a leader and I feel like I can do that, so I’m up to the task.

“I’m looking to bring all the same qualities that I brought in qualifying and to really just help everyone on the team.”

Hyndman, 19, made his professional debut in Fulham’s Championship opener against Ipswich Town this past season, before going on to earn a shock call-up and first senior international cap just a few weeks later.

The Texas-native made 11 total appearances over the course of the campaign but it could have been more he had not suffered a fractured collarbone at the Under-20 CONCACAF Championship which ruled him out for most of the second half of the term.

Former Fulham boss Felix Magath was a big fan of the teenager, comparing his passing skills to those of Andrea Pirlo, while US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has also sung his praises on several occasions.

“Emerson is phenomenal,” he told the Telegraph in November. “This kid came to our first game after the World Cup, and in our first training session he played like he was always with us.

“He’s barely 18. I said to my coach: ‘Are you seeing what I’m seeing?’ Everyone was like ‘woah’.”

The talent which Klinsmann has spoken of has not gone unnoticed across Europe either and Borussia Dortmund are now reported to be keeping close tabs on him, [h/t Goal USA], along with clubs in both La Liga and the Eredivisie.

A run of impressive performances in New Zealand this summer could well turn a few more heads and, with his contract set to expire in 2016, Fulham might well find themselves in a battle to hold on to him.

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