A source close to the situation divulged on Tuesday afternoon that the 19-year-old will be allowed to leave Craven Cottage for training-only stints with prospective buyers as the Championship season unfolds. It is in this manner that he can choose his next employer.
The 19 year old is Emerson Hyndman, who actually looked pretty capable in the team’s engine room under Magath, has shown composure beyond his years, and is now certain to go somewhere else.
It’s probably too soon to mark this down as ‘an alarming trend’, but equally, we had high hopes for this generation of Fulham youngsters and one by one they’re all disappearing.
The article above notes that Fulham have offered a new deal to the player, but, just as happened with Patrick Roberts, have little power in the situation with the contract on the verge of expiring. I appreciate that it’s easy to sit here and criticise things that are presumably much harder to control than we might ever imagine, BUT it’s dismaying to see another talented player about to leave. Dan Burn can go in the summer, so too can Moussa Dembele, and Lasse Vigen Christensen can be off a year later.
Part of me wishes the club had done what Magath actually tried to do, namely commit to youth. We all saw how dangerous a tactic that could have been, but in many ways it’s hard to disentangle the general idea from the executioner of this idea: could someone like Dario Gradi have made this approach work?
You can build a team any way you like, but if you’re somehow able to grow one from within then there’s a suspicion that somehow this is a better thing, that this leads to better outcomes. In a parallel universe out there is a team that’s competing for the 2019-20 Premier League title, with grizzly veteran David Stockdale in goal, twin pillars Burn and Burgess (together as a pairing for 5 seasons) at the heart of the defence, and Hyndman and LVC running games from the middle of the park. Patrick Roberts is unstoppable on the wing, and Woodrow and Dembele are almost telepathic by now.
No, I know. This couldn’t and wouldn’t have happened, but it’s a future that’s within the realms of the dreamable, a path the club might have taken, a path that could scarcely have been worse than the one the club *did* take, and one that would have united the fan base for some time. Everyone likes to see the kids getting a chance, and a home-grown team would have felt special.
Naive, nonsensical, I know, I know. But every time one of these gifted young players leaves the club for not much we’re reminded of the extent to which the whole organisation has made an absolute dog’s dinner of the last few seasons. It’s been beyond shambolic.