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Emerson Hyndman reveals ‘crazy’ Old Firm debut, USMNT ambitions and excitement at Rangers loan move

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Celtic v Rangers - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Rangers loanee and US international hopeful Emerson Hyndman appeared on American podcast The SBI Show and spoke with host Ives Galarcep about a range of topics, including his 6-month loan deal at Ibrox and his ambitions for winning a place in Bruce Arena’s US national squad.

When asked what he felt had allowed him to hit the ground running after his January move the Texas-born midfielder revealed his fitness had played a key role in immediately becoming a massive part of Rangers’ play, saying: "A lot of it comes down to the way I was prepared going into January. I was quite fit, not match fit, but fit in that in terms my running and being able to keep up with the pace of the game, so that really helped and I grew with confidence as I realised I was able to go 90 minutes without really struggling. As soon as I started playing games I knew that confidence would kick in so I’d probably put it down to my fitness levels when I arrived and I’ve got to give Bournemouth credit for that."

Hyndman isn’t the first American to ply his trade in G51 in recent years; joining the likes of Claudio Reyna, Carlos Bocanegra and Mo Edu, and he explained how a former American loanee had some influence on his move to Glasgow as well as admitting playing for a team of Rangers’ stature was a "privilege", saying: "It’s the first thing they tell you when you arrive. They tell you that it’s a massive club and it really is. I found out that it’s really a privilege to play for a team like Rangers with so much history. With Gedion (Zelalem) here last year I got his input and he only had great things to say and I know they history they have with Americans here so it’s all been positive and it was really exciting for me to make my move."

Hyndman also had his first experience of playing in an Old Firm a few weeks ago in the 1-1 draw at Celtic Park and revealed it would be a day he would never forget: "It was a crazy day. You hear so much about it and I’ve seen them on TV in the past and you realise then how big of an occasion it is but to actually play in one is a completely different feeling. When you show up, it was away from home for us, there were tons of fans outside just giving us abuse so you know it’s a different type of game to anything you’ve played in before."When everyone hypes it up so much, telling you things like the atmosphere is like nothing you’ve experienced before, you have these butterflies in your stomach but at the same time you can’t wait to get going. It’s definitely a game I’ll never forget."

After making a move to Bournemouth from Fulham in the summer Hyndman quickly found himself out injured and spoke of his disappointment at getting hurt so early into his time at the Cherries and how it impacted his first 6 months at his new club before opening the door for a move north, saying: "It was really frustrating for me as I was excited to be there and for it to happen so quickly; I twisted my ankle and it took a few weeks to heal up to where I could train so if you’re behind on pre-season it’s had to recover as you’d like to and be as fit as the other guys. I was always a step behind going into, which is never good, and unfortunately I found myself not involved in games. When the opportunity to go to Rangers came up, and I heard about the interest, I was really excited and the fact Bournemouth were on board, and told me it would be good for me, made up my mind even more."

Many USMNT followers (and Rangers fans) were surprised when Hyndman didn’t make the squad for the United States’ World Cup qualifiers against Panama and Honduras and the twice-capped midfielder admitted he was disappointed not to make the squad: "I’m really anxious to get involved as soon as I can with the national team. It’s always disappointing when you don’t get called in, especially when you are playing regularly, but at the same time I’m growing with confidence as the season goes on and I’m focused on Rangers as much as I can but when the international break comes around you want to be involved."

Hyndman also discusses a number of other topics, including US wonderkid Christian Pulisic making the breakthrough for his national side and Borussia Dortmund, the weight of expectation being tagged as the ‘next big thing’ at age 11 and keeping up to date with MLS.

You can listen in full here: https://soundcloud.com/sbipodcast