Anytime an American in Europe goes on loan to a club there’s optimism that the move will result in more playing time. Especially if the player is a young and exciting talent like Emerson Hyndman.
The 20-year-old U.S. youth international completed a loan move to Scottish giants Rangers on Monday. After struggling for minutes in his first season with Bournemouth, Hyndman will be hoping for a better opportunity to earn first team minutes at Ibrox Stadium in 2017.
No matter what club you look at in Europe, the competition for minutes is fierce. That’s what makes the continent such a desirable destination for players across the world knowing that you’re competing with very good players regardless of league. Scotland is no different. While it’s probably not as cutthroat as the Premier League is, the competition for spots still exists.
We got a chance to speak with a Rangers expert to judge the chances of Hyndman playing on his loan stint and how he could fit in to manager Mark Warbuton’s plans. Callum Hamilton is the Managing Editor of Rangers’ SB Nation blog Got The Battle Fever On. He took time out of his busy schedule to give us the 4-1-1 on Hyndman’s fight for minutes.
So, will he get to play?
Callum Hamilton: It's difficult to say, other than that he'll certainly face a fight for his spot. There's no obvious position for him in the team, and I'd imagine he'll be competing with Jason Holt, who has been very inconsistent and is a similar type of player, for his position. He might even end up as the deepest midfielder from time to time as we have very few players in that position - it's hard to say. He does seem exactly the kind of player our manager likes though, so he'll have that going for him.
Hyndman is your typical American midfielder. He’s not a prototypical attacking No. 10 and he’s not a pure defensive midfielder either. Going from box-to-box and acting as a distributor makes your wonder where he could fit in Rangers formation. We asked Callum to give us a breakdown of what type of system the club runs:
Callum Hamilton: Rangers have varied their formation a bit recently, but always line up with a fairly fluid midfield three, with one defensive, one in the middle, and one further forward. We have real problems for the most defensive position because our first choice there is having horrible injury problems and his replacement really isn't suited to that position at all. The midfield tends to rotate quite a lot so he'll get plenty of opportunities, and I'd imagine Mark Warburton sees him as competing for the middle role in the three - although I'd expect him to appear in one of the other two at some point depending on injuries and form.
Warburton seems to agree with Callum’s assessment of Hyndman’s versatility as he had this to say upon the youngster’s arrival at the club.
"He can be defensive and sit there, and play in that role, but he can also play higher up, and score goals and get into the box. He has all the attributes."
While it certainly sounds like the Texas native will get a good chance to play at a respectable level, nothing is guaranteed. He’ll have to fight hard for his spot and make the most of his opportunities.
Hopefully this is the move he needs to get his career off the launching pad. Ever since his days at Fulham he’s been a highly rated player but has yet to reach the heights expected of him aside from a few moments like scoring his first goal or making his first team debut.
If he can put it all together and impress during his loan spell at Rangers, perhaps Bruce Arena will take notice and we’ll have another midfielder to consider for the USMNT setup. But, that’s further down the road. Now it’s all about finding his footing in Scotland and taking advantage of his chances.