Despite his star turn against Spurs in RB Leipzig’s Champions League Round of 16 first leg match at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last month, Ethan Ampadu’s minutes have not ticked up noticeably.
In fact he has yet to make an appearance since, and has spent the last couple weeks dealing with a back injury to boot — including yesterday, when he was in the (non-empty) stands to witness Leipzig complete the job against Spurs to the tune of 3-0, sending them crashing out of Europe 4-0 on aggregate. Mourinho’s struggling team have now lost five of six in all competitions (including to Chelsea), drawing once.
Ampadu was often limited by (literal) “growing pains” last year as well, which can happen when you’re still just a teenager. But when he can (or is picked to) play, he almost always impresses, be that in midfield, or, as against Spurs, in central defense.
The fact that he’s only made 7 appearances and has collected less than 300 minutes does make his season-long loan to the Bundesliga title-contenders fairly questionable in retrospect — especially with Chelsea in the midst of a Youth Revolution™ not seen in however many decades — but Ampadu remains confident that his prospects remain strong in the SW6. Seeing his peers given chances to succeed, and then actually succeeding is something he’s hoping to take advantage of next season as well.
“In our sport most people progress on talent and hard work — and that’s what I see at Chelsea. [...] It is great to see that [the other young players] are doing so well. They all have great talent and deserve every minute they get pitch time.
“It shows that young players under a young manager who believes in them can be successful in the Premier League. I’m in touch a little, and it’s been a great season for some of the younger players because the manager has shown such faith in them and so far, it’s turning out well.
”It points to an exciting future for the club.”
This isn’t the first time that Ampadu has talked about his intentions of making the Chelsea first-team next season, but for now, his main focus remains on Leipzig and then of course on Wales in Euro 2020.
“I’m just concentrating on my football and trying to get better every day. I followed Chelsea as a young fan until I joined the club as a player aged 16. From that point, I thought only about its future and that’s all I am concerned about. It’s my club, always has been and it will always be my home in football.
“[But] my focus is at Leipzig until May and then the European finals with Wales. [...] A good performance [is] what I expect of myself in every game. I work hard to be the best professional I can be and that won’t ever stop until retire.”
-Ethan Ampadu; source: Evening Standard
Sounds like Ampadu’s got a plan, and the will to execute it to the very best of his abilities.
May it be as successful as we all hope it to be.