Things certainly could’ve turned out much worse when Ethan Ampadu collected his yellow card less than two minutes into the game — a well-earned one after yet another crunching tackle with which he’s already made a name for himself in his limited minutes. This one left Jermain Defoe in plenty of pain and eventually with an early shower as he could not run off the knock and was eventually substituted 15 minutes later.
Early yellow cards like that can often negatively affect even players who are much more seasoned than the 17-year-old brand new sensation, but Ampadu did not shy away from playing his normal game. He stayed strong, both in terms of positioning and in tackles and duels, and he kept it simple and steady when on the ball.
“After one minute and 40 seconds the ref decided to book a player who is 17 years old. Ampadu played the whole game with this problem. That’s not easy. He had to play 93 minutes with this danger, but he showed great maturity and personality.”
The booking was one of the few calls that Mason did get right, but credit to the kid for not letting it affect him whatsoever. That’s really not all that surprising from the player in the midst of a remarkable 12-month period — there was a great profile on Ampadu by the Mail’s Oliver Todd the other day that chronicled his meteoric rise (also a good Q&A on the official website, if you’re so inclined) — who now has to keep working and improving and staying humble and committed.
“I have spoken about this player before in an enthusiastic way. Despite his young age, he is showing great maturity. I don’t like to make gifts for someone. If you deserve to, I am ready to play you.
“He deserved to play tonight, he deserved to play against Everton, he deserved to play his first league game against Huddersfield. Now he has to stay calm. Maybe next game he goes to play for the youth team, I don’t know. This player is very humble. He could have a great future, but he has to continue in this way.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC
Ampadu was interviewed by Chelsea TV after the game, but unfortunately those quotes are not out yet. He will undoubtedly show great maturity in those as well.