Emerson Hyndman has been one of the most talked about young Americans in years. And he's been talked about for years.
The grandson of former FC Dallas manager Schellas Hyndman, Emerson signed with Fulham in 2011 and has been a star for the Cottagers' excellent youth teams. But on Saturday, he made his senior team debut, and he did it as a starter in Fulham's Championship debut. The Cottagers are going to play a bunch of young players this season and that includes Hyndman, who figures to play a big role for the team.
The American showed why right from the start, putting in a very solid performance. He was never spectacular, running through the team, hitting the sublime ball or making a great tackle, but he was tidy. He completed 59 of 66 passes, playing in the midfield of Fulham's 4-3-3, and made five clearances. It wasn't as much a matter of doing incredible things for Hyndman as it was being in the right place, supporting his teammates and keeping the ball moving, all things he did well.
For an 18-year-old in his first senior team match, to be that dependable and professional is very impressive. It confirmed everything we have been hearing from the club about his potential and maturity.
And there is even a video of his every touch.
There is nothing incredible in there, just a lot of smart, good plays. He knows where to be and keeps the ball moving. Despite being a smaller player and, at 18 years old, in need of putting on some more muscle, he never seemed overwhelmed by the strength of his opponents or the stage.
It was only one match, and he's going to play many, many more, but Hyndman gets full marks for his showing on Saturday. It was abundantly clear why both Fulham and the U.S. have been so high on him for years.