The 2014/15 season may be over for Fulham, but Emerson Hyndman still has plenty to play for as the FIFA U-20 World Cup draws near.
The United States – who will be captained by the Whites midfielder in New Zealand – qualified for the tournament, which kicks off on Saturday, with a 2-0 win over El Salvador in a CONCACAF Play-Off back in January.
“It was tough in Jamaica, as we had to go through the Play-Offs,” Hyndman told fulhamfc.com. “It was nerve wracking towards the end but when we secured qualification we were really excited.
“I’d never been to New Zealand before but I’m looking forward to the competition. It’s not quite as warm as I thought it would be but it will be exciting.”
The Stars and Stripes have been drawn in a group with the hosts, along with Ukraine and Myanmar, and Hyndman is backing his team to do well.
“New Zealand are in our group, they are the hosts, I’m expecting a big crowd when we play them,” the 19-year-old said. “We’ve got Ukraine as well, that should be a good game that one, and Myanmar.
“I think it’s their first World Cup but we’re delighted with the group and think we’ve got a good chance of getting through.
“We’ll take it one game at a time. Our first task is to get out of the group and then once we are there, we’ll just take one game at a time.
“A lot of big nations missed out this year actually, which is surprising but there will be great players all over and it’s good to be part of it.”
It will be a first World Cup experience for Hyndman, and the gifted playmaker is keen to end what has been a stop-start season on a high.
“I’ve never been to a World Cup personally, so it will be my first one and I’m sure a first for a lot of our team,” he explained. “We’re all excited and if we can have a good World Cup, individually and as a team, we’ll be delighted.
“I had some problems with injuries over the second half of the season, mainly with my collarbone and then my ankle. But I was delighted to get back into training, and hopefully I’ll have a good World Cup.”