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Why Chelsea fans shouldn't forget about Ethan Ampadu

In the first 6 months of the Frank Lampard era, the club and our fans have gone from entering a new chapter in the club’s history full of ...

In the first 6 months of the Frank Lampard era, the club and our fans have gone from entering a new chapter in the club’s history full of worries, doubts and low expectations to proclaiming a fully-fledged youth revolution from the rooftops. From long since prospective star boys like Hudson-Odoi and Reece James to more unlikely successes such as Tomori, every talented youngster, it seems, has established a place and a significance in Lampard’s squad in the present and for the future. However, as if overwhelmed by such a huge influx of young talent both from the far corners of the Championship on loan and off the first-team bench straight into key roles in the squad, there are some talents the fanbase seems to be forgetting amongst all the excitement, none more so than Ethan Ampadu.

Having made his first-team debut in the now seemingly distant past of the 2017/18 season under Antonio Conte, Ampadu has been a somewhat recognisable name in the consciousness of the fans and media in English football for quite some time. Although his opportunities in the league have been nominal, starting several domestic cup games under both Sarri and Conte he has produced impressively mature and composed performances ever since his debut as a 17-year-old. In the Europa League last season, his cameos were only occasional but Sarri’s experimental use of Ampadu in a variety of different positions aside from his natural CB role, including RB, DM and box-to-box midfield, only served to prove he is versatile and complete as well as outstanding in more particular areas and facets of his game. Combine all that with his confident and consistent performances for the Wales national team, which have nailed down his place in his country’s starting XI as well as earned the constant praise of his manager and Premier League icon Ryan Giggs, and you can see why Ampadu has earned such notoriety among fans and pundits alike despite his relative lack of consistent game time since his breakout.

As a player, Ampadu epitomises the aggressive, expressive, positionally fluid style of CB we often see produced in South America - the matching hairstyle may have disappeared but the similarities between him and the now Arsenal man David Luiz in their style of play remain evident. On the ball, Ampadu is phenomenally composed and effortless, possessing great ball control, the sort of press resistance and close control that allows him to play a midfield role comfortably, and an ability to play passes of any technique or distance with a light and calm touch. Off the ball, his aggression, tight and intelligent marking, and solid aerial ability are all very impressive for a 19-year-old. However, this can mean that his endeavour in leaving his position to track forwards and often following them into midfield can expose space in behind. While this may be a liability in a disorganised backline, paired with a more conservative and experienced CB such as Zouma to cover the space he leaves behind, his ability to unsettle attackers physically and afford them no time and no room to turn or manoeuvre no matter their position in front of our backline can only be a positive.

Currently, at RB Leipzig on loan, Ampadu has become the victim of an unfortunate situation at a club that initially seemed an ideal destination for experience on loan. With Leipzig 1st in the Bundesliga and progressing in the CL, their 2 French CBs, Konate and Upamecano, have attracted the interest of many clubs around Europe and, wanting to showcase their product to buyers as much as possible and maximally inflate their price, Leipzig have left Ampadu, a loanee whose development they have no stake in, to spend his time in Germany mostly on the bench. Thanks to the trust and backing of Ryan Giggs, Ampadu has managed to keep his place in the Wales side despite his lack of game time and continues to perform better and better on the international stage. Either through a backup role opening up due to the sale of one of our more unconvincing/unhappy first team CBs (in a similar fashion to Tomori) or via a more reliable loan offer, I sincerely hope Ampadu is given a platform to shine because to me he has a potential I think most of our fans have not even remotely hoped or imagined for him to achieve yet.


Written by - @MishaCFC
Edit by- @KristenPulisic

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