This time last year, Ethan Ampadu was just a youngster at fourth division Exeter City, regularly making the bench for manager Paul Tisdale (the second-longest serving manager in the top four divisions in England), with the occasional start at center back or defensive midfield. Not exactly a household name.
While it still would be a stretch to call him that just yet, he’s since not only made his Premier League debut but also won his first two caps for Wales. Combined with his hair-do, the 17-year-old’s hard to miss, catching the attentions of fans and the Chelsea boss as well. Conte places great emphasis on showing desire and commitment, both in games and especially in training, so Ampadu must be doing something right...
“He deserves to play. He’s showing that in every game I make this decision, like against Everton and Bournemouth. He’s shown me he is ready to play with the right concentration and be ready physically and tactically to play at this level.
“It’s unusual for a player who is only 17 but that shows age is not important if I give you the chance to play and you repay me with a great performance. We are talking about a really great prospect for Chelsea for the present and future.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC
Ampadu is set for his fifth senior appearance for Chelsea tonight, in the FA Cup third round replay against Norwich City. For now, the hype is real.