THESE days, perhaps football is not viewed as a game for the smaller and slighter.

But there is still plenty of scope for those of more diminutive build to make a telling impact, a fact not lost on Cherries midfielder Emerson Hyndman.

The United States international is no giant – he stands a modest 5ft 9in and at 21 years old is still developing physically – but he is hopeful of carving out his own niche at Vitality Stadium.

Growing up in Texas and watching Premier League coverage on television, Hyndman had his football heroes. And he could see players of all shapes and sizes were enjoying success.

"Cesc Fabregas was one," said Hyndman. "He wasn't the biggest guy and at the time I really related to that.

"I was quite small for my age and he had the captain's armband at Arsenal when he was young, so he was one player I sought to be. He was the difference-maker in that team.

"Later on, Luka Modric and the way he impacted Tottenham. There have been quite a few but I think Fabregas is probably the one."

Hyndman first arrived in Britain in 2011 when he was signed by Fulham from FC Dallas. He came through the youth ranks at Craven Cottage before making his first-team debut in a 2-1 defeat at Ipswich Town in August 2014.

Having made his US senior debut the following month, Hyndman went on to total nine appearances in the Championship that season – all of those outings being starts – and featured twice in the League Cup.

In 2015-16, Dallas-born Hyndman made 16 league appearances, scoring his first goal in English football in a 2-1 win over Cardiff City in April.

With his family still living on the other side of the Atlantic, the likeable Texan admits he has done plenty of growing up since upping sticks as a teenager.

"I'm used to it now but at the beginning it was a bit tough," he said. "I was scrapping for myself, cleaning my clothes and feeding myself but you get used to it quickly.

"England almost feels more like home sometimes, just because I've lived here so long and I don't really get back often.

"I get a six-week break in the US so I live here for most of the year and I've been doing that for six years now.

"It was a hard transition at the age of 15 but I've really grown to enjoy playing in England. I enjoy the way the game is played – at a fast pace – and I think I have adapted quite well."

Last year, Hyndman became the first summer signing of Cherries boss Eddie Howe, moving from Fulham for a compensation fee in the region of £750,000.

Following three brief cup appearances, Hyndman joined SPL giants Rangers on loan in January, the temporary switch proving highly fruitful.

The midfielder immediately endeared himself to the Ibrox faithful by scoring twice in his first three outings and went on to be named the club's young player of the season.

The only sadness came when a foot injury sustained in the final throes of the campaign curtailed his spell north of the border.

Hyndman has made one first-team outing for Cherries this season, coming off the bench late in the League Cup win over Brighton in September.

As always, his ambitions remain to earn a regular spot in Howe's first-team plans, although he admits patience is required.

He said: "I think the first team always has to be the goal, especially when you are a young player. When you are a central midfielder, it's sometimes difficult.

"At the same time, I feel really good. I went on loan last season and that gave me a lot of experience.

"It's about trying to fight through it and try to get a chance here and there. I think I'm on the right path. You want it now but you have to be patient and wait for the opportunity.

"The manager tells me I am doing well in training so that is all I can really do, keep working hard and keep improving and just try to get in his team."