USMNT: 5 Bold Predictions about Klinsmann’s World Cup 2018 Roster

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Jun 20, 2014; Sao Paulo, BRAZIL; Detailed view of the US Soccer logo during USA team training at Sao Paulo FC. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Prediction #3: Emerson Hyndman starts in the midfield.

Before you begin sending in your hate mail for this statement, hear me out. At just 18 years old, Hyndman is starting for Fullham of the Championship, England’s second division, and impressing everyone that sees him play. Despite the fact that Fullham were relegated at the end of last season, they are known to have one of the best academies in the world. As a matter of fact, their U-18 squad that featured Hyndman made it all the way to the FA Youth Cup Final before losing despite a Hyndman goal.

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Hyndman has already drawn comparisons to Andrea Pirlo, and while its foolish to say that he will be that spectacular this early in his career, if that is about as high a compliment as any USMNT prospect has ever garnered. Both technically and mentally, the teenage sensation is advanced well beyond his years.

With much emphasis being put on a possession-based attack that includes building out of the back consistently, it is not crazy to think that Hyndman could play a huge role in Russia despite the fact that he will be just 22. His work in the midfield is clean and tidy time and time again for Fullham. Known for an outrageous passing percentage and not making mistakes, it is easy to see why pundits are gushing over him. It is rare that a player so young has the maturity to play mistake-free for the majority of the time he is on the pitch.

Klinsmann called up Hyndman for his first cap against Czech Republic, and he didn’t let anyone down with an 89% passing percentage, the same number as his debut with the first team at Fullham. While it was for limited minutes, Hyndman demanded attention with his ability to dictate tempo, pick out the correct pass, and execute almost flawlessly.

If Hyndman needs to improve on anything, it is his creativity in the final third. While it is easy to appreciate his precise passing and decision-making in terms of maintaining, he needs to take a few more chances to take his game to the next level. There is no telling the type of player that Hyndman will be in four years, but if he continues to develop even at a fraction of this pace, we could be looking at a potential star for the United States.