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Official: Ethan Ampadu loaned to Sheffield United

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Regular minutes at last?

Wales v Bulgaria - UEFA Nations League - Group 4 - League B - Cardiff City Stadium Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images

Ethan Ampadu will continue his development on loan under the stewardship of Chris Wilder at Sheffield United for the 2020-21 season.

After finding regular minutes very difficult to come by last season at RB Leipzig and also being hampered by injuries, reports claiming Ampadu might stick around the first-team and try to impress Frank Lampard were surprising to say the least but not because of his calibre. Ampadu, in his fleeting senior appearances for Chelsea, has always looked ‘ready’ for the senior game at a high level. The fact that he’s been a regular starter for his country regardless of his situation at club level speaks to the same. However, the best way for such a player to develop is quite simply by playing a lot.

The 20-year-old has suffered from untimely growth-related injuries in the past and was the unfortunate recipient of a poor choice of loan destination last season. No doubt, learning under Julian Nagelsmann would’ve brought its own unique advantages but Ampadu has reached a juncture where playing football is of paramount importance, which raises some question marks over the latest choice of loan club. Chris Wilder is not known for rotation in defence or the number 6 role, with all of Chris Basham, John Egan, Jack O’Connell and Oliver Norwood excelling at their roles in his system. Furthermore, January signing Sander Berge possesses a ballpark of similar attributes to Ampadu for that particular role in midfield.

From the loaning club’s point of view, this deal makes a lot of sense and they gain a talented young player who can cover multiple positions. However, at this point, it’s difficult to envision Ampadu playing a large amount of minutes unless there are multiple injuries in the squad or the ‘established’ starting personnel suffer a horrendous run of results. Loans aren’t meant to be easy, so having to fight for one’s place could well be a good thing but it does beg the question - would he have been better-served playing every available game in the Championship instead?

Hopefully Ethan (along with Chris Wilder) makes these paragraphs look silly at the end of a season rich with playing time. Good luck!