Scout Report - Ethan Ampadu: One for the future
The recent League Cup encounter between Chelsea and Everton, witnessed the beginning of a new era for Chelsea. Ethan Ampadu, a product of Exeter City's youth academy, before becoming a Blue, became the first player born in this millennium to start a match for Chelsea. And with that Chelsea have found themselves a potential star in the making.
Currently playing for Chelsea, Ampadu has quickly made a name for himself in English football since bursting onto the scene at Exeter City. Within a year of making his Exeter debut, he found himself making his Chelsea debut, as a substitute in the Carabao Cup, against Nottingham Forest, and as a starter against Everton, a few weeks later in the same competition.
Though his senior club appearances have been few and far between, he has been continuously performing well for the Welsh U16s and U19s. His remarkable progression has even caught the eye Chris Coleman, the Welsh senior team manager. Coleman did not waste any time in giving Ampadu a transition into the National Team.
With two international caps in his hand now, he is a talent to look forward to. So without further ado, let's have a brief look at the teenager's profile.
Ethan Ampadu was born to Kwame Ampadu. Kwame himself was a midfielder who played for a host of clubs like Arsenal, Swansea and Exeter City. He was a part of the Exeter's coaching staff until 2012. Inevitably, Ethan joined the Exeter City academy as a kid.
At the age of 15, he became the club's youngest senior team debutant. A centre-back by trade, he played for both, the English and Welsh youth teams, as he was eligible for both the nationalities.
His performances caught the eye of many big clubs in England but he decided to stay back at Exeter city and finish his schooling. It was during this time that Chelsea first noticed his talent. Chelsea visited Exeter city for the Checkatrade trophy in the month of October 2016.
The usually strong under-21 Chelsea side were dominated by the League Two club with Ampadu at the heart of the inspired performance. A few months later, Chelsea won his signature after seeing off competition from clubs like Manchester United.
Style of play
"The biggest compliment I can pay him is that he plays like a 35-year-old", an ecstatic Paul Tisdale said after Exeter's win against Brentford in the League Cup. "Nothing fazes him, as he's composed, he reads the game and he talks to players of a more senior level".
With a deceptively strong 6-foot tall frame for his age, he plays in various positions across the central defence and midfield. He is a very composed passer of the ball and is never afraid to drive it forward when it requires him to. Ampadu's positioning is very good, as he is almost always available for a pass or to make an interception.
"That's the remarkable thing, he's not necessarily a centre-back. He's one of those players that can play in four or five positions – I'm not sure what his best position will be and nor probably will he but that also tells you what a good player he is",
Tisdale, the manager of Exeter City explains.
After his debut match against Brentford, Ampadu cemented his spot in the first eleven and played 12 more matches for the senior team that season, slowly shifting from defence to midfield.
At Chelsea, he seems to be in Antonio Conte's plan as a deep-lying defensive anchorman. In both the matches he has played, he sat in the midfield two of the 3-4-3 partnering Tiemoue Bakayoko in one and Danny Drinkwater in the other. In both cases, his communication with the players around him was visible and his presence was calming.
He also has a good range of passing in him, which was evident when he tried to find Willian, Batshuayi and other attackers who were playing on the last man of the opponent's defence. He also has a neat tackle in him and he is never one to shy off a 50-50 encounter.
Overall, much like Antonio Conte in his prime as a player, Ampadu is an energetic, combative defensive midfielder, who is also tactically very flexible.
Areas to develop
In the modern game, it is important for a footballer to excel in multiple facets of the game. Keeping that in mind, if there is one area for Ampadu to develop, it's his shooting.
Especially if he wants to break into the current Chelsea team, where the pressure of scoring and assisting falls solely on the front two or three. If he learns to shoot more and add a few goals from midfield, he will be an indispensable asset to the current Chelsea team.
Ethan Ampadu has been getting everything right until now. He also looks to have a good head on his shoulders as seen from his decision making both on and off the pitch. Being 17 years of age, he has a long career ahead of him and a good few years before he becomes a mainstay for any club.
After breaking into Conte's first team plans, he now has the opportunity to work and develop under the tutelage of one of the best managers in world football. Whatever the future holds for him, it sure does look to be promising at the moment.