Fulham U18 v Chelsea U18 - FA Youth Cup Final: First Leg

American teenager Emerson Hyndman makes Fulham debut


Another American player has begun their professional career with Fulham. Remember the name: Emerson Hyndman.

You may already know his name, as Emerson’s grandfather Schellas was head coach of FC Dallas for five seasons up until last year. Well, his 18-year-old Grandson is making quite the name for himself in West London.

[RELATED: Hyndman stars for Fulham’s]

On Saturday the American midfielder made his debut for Felix Magath’s side in their season opener in the Championship, England’s second-tier. The Cottagers, who were relegated from the Premier League last season, lost 2-1 to Ipswich Town and in total nine players were making their debut for Fulham.

Hyndman played in central midfield and despite his slight frame in the physical Championship, the teenager held his own for the entire 90 minutes and recorded a pass success rate of 89 per cent.

Speaking to Fulham’s website the academy product had the following to say about his first taste of pro soccer.

“I didn’t find out I was going to be playing until the day,” Hyndman said. “It was a great moment – I was very excited, nervous, a lot of different emotions flying through but I think now that I have that experience behind me it will serve me well. It’s my goal to play as many games as possible. My initial goal was to make my debut this season and that’s come pretty quick so now I just want to build on that.

“It was better than I thought it would be. It is a physical league, especially against an Ipswich side which is known for it. Coming into it and seeing all the big guys, it’s different but I think I coped with it well and as the game went on I just got used to it.”

The U.S. youth international, who has represented the Stars and Stripes at U-17 level, has a bright future in store as his clever passing, intricate dribbles and eagerness to get on the ball shone through. To be battling it out in the Championship at the age of 18 is really something, as England’s second-tier is a rough and tumble division to say the least. Magath is expected to lean heavily on Hyndman and his fellow academy products this season as youth will be given a chance to shine down by the River Thames.

After being handed the No. 28 shirt this season, Hyndman becomes the ninth American-born player to suit up for Fulham and U.S. soccer fans will be keeping on eye on his progress as Fulham aim for immediate promotion back to the Premier League. Having spoken to folks in and around Fulham, they certainly have high hopes for Hyndman. A future U.S. international in the making perhaps?

“Overweight” Costa comes to Mourinho’s defense

Diego Costa, Chelsea FC
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Diego Costa says he and his Chelsea teammates are to blame for Chelsea’s horrid start to the 2015-16 Premier League season.

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Speaking Thursday, during a bit of downtime over the current international break (Costa was left out of Vicente del Bosque’s squad for Spain’s final two EURO 2016 qualifiers this week), Costa placed the majority of blame at the feet of the entire team, but went on to most harshly critique himself for coming into the season unfocused and “overweight.”

Costa, on his lack of fitness and form to begin the season — quotes from the Guardian:

“We know we’re not in the form we were supposed to be at the beginning of the season. We need to blame the players because we came back from holiday very confident, thinking we could go back into how it was last season, and then realized the team was already in a bad situation.

“I’m going to be very honest: maybe a few weeks ago, five or six weeks ago, I was not on top of my game. At least physically. We talk within the players and we know that, maybe at the beginning, we were not 100 percent as we were supposed to be when we got here. I got injured at the end of last season and then I went on holiday. Maybe I got out of my diet and, when I came back, I was not the way I was supposed to be. I was a little bit overweight. That affected my game. You can be selfish and blame it on the manager but I’m not going to do that. I’m responsible 100%, and so are the other guys.

Given that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said on Thursday he doesn’t quite know what’s wrong with the defending Premier League champions, hearing someone — anyone — speak up and explain the club’s worst start to a season in 37 years will surely be a welcome sound to any Blues supporter’s ears.

[ MORE: Liverpool appoint Klopp as manager | Allardyce to Sunderland? ]

Costa, who is eligible to return from suspension next weekend when Aston Villa visit Stamford Bridge, has scored just one goal in league play this season (six appearances) after scoring 20 in 26 games last season.

Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
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Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)

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Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.

That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.

One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.

[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]

Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.

Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.