Chelsea’s developmental squad is known to have players with tremendous potential. The plethora of talent in their youth ranks has helped the Blues win multiple FA Youth Cups and UEFA Youth League over the years. Yet there are serious concerns over the approach of the English champions esp. when none of their sparkling youths seem to make a mark in their senior team despite winning every accolade in youth level.
Nonetheless, one man who could break that sequence could be Ethan Ampadu, a Welsh international already at the age of 17.
Who is Ethan Ampadu?
Born on 14 September 2000 at the cathedral city of Exeter in the south-west of England, Ethan Ampadu grew up in a footballing family. His father, Kwame Ampadu, played for multiple Premier League clubs throughout his career.
Naturally, The Welsh midfielder had a deep affinity towards football. As a result, when his father joined to become a coach for Exeter City U-18s, Ethan got his chance to join their academy and pursue a footballing career.
At Exeter City, the midfielder only knew how to succeed as he slowly impressed in the youth level to earn himself a berth with the senior team. The midfielder then went on to become the club’s youngest ever player, but the performance was far from shallow as he also took the man of the match award home.
The impressive performances for the lower division club welcomed interests all around the country, with two London clubs, Chelsea and Arsenal both interested. Funnily enough, he chose Chelsea in spite of his father’s alliance with the Arsenal U18s.
The success continued at Chelsea, as he became the first millennial to start a game for the Blues. Chelsea coach Antonio Conte was so impressed with his performance against Everton that he remarked the prodigy’s debut start as “the answer I was waiting for.” The Italian said of him: “He’s 17 years old and played a good game. They deserve their chance, and I am very happy. It was the answer I was waiting for.”
What is his style of play?
With a hairdo similar to Chelsea fan-favorite, David Luiz, it’s difficult not to notice the midfielder’s presence in the field. But it is just not his looks that separates him from the rest.
With stellar confidence in his abilities, the Welsh international isn’t afraid to command senior players to their positions while he is anchoring the midfield.
The midfielder likes to impart his control in the game, quite evidently shown by his constant hand gestures throughout the game.
What are his strengths?
The Welshman prefers to play deep in the midfield and has a knack to break and intercept opposition attacks to push his team forward.
He holds the ball superbly and rarely loses possession under pressure – and though tactical awareness is rarely a thing associated with young players of his age, he seems to read the game pretty well.
The midfielder is well ahead of his age regarding his composure in the center of the park. He knows how to make his opportunities count – and seems to have the nerve of steels as he looked comfortable playing first-team football for Chelsea.
Besides, he is not just technically sound. A towering presence of 6ft (183cm), the prodigy demonstrates to be a physical presence in midfield which is one of the essential requirements in the Premier League. With his stature, the player is adept at bringing the ball from deep areas of the midfield and can easily thrust the ball to forward areas to help his side maintain control.
Meanwhile, more often than not, the uprising starlets fail to make correct life choices which ultimately hampers their progression. However, Ethan Ampadu is unlike any other young British footballer.
The youngster rejected a Wales call-up back in June as he was instead preparing to complete his GCSEs – which shows that the 17-year-old knows where his priorities lie.
What are his weaknesses?
On his two appearances for Chelsea first-team, his decision making in providing long balls when he had time on the ball seemed a little bland. However, his long balls were top-notch for Wales in his first start against Panama which showed he learns from his mistakes.
Chelsea isn’t known to bring up young talents from their youth setup to their first team. But with the entirety of his career waiting for him, it’s frantic even to think there would be no place for Ethan Ampadu in the Chelsea first team if he continues his upward progression.