The question of Ethan Ampadu’s best position has been a constant one through his five-year Chelsea career, starting with his first-team debut, just six days after his 17th birthday, and still largely unanswered today.
He’s featured mostly in midfield in his 12 senior Chelsea appearances (under Conte and Sarri), but mostly in defense in his Chelsea youth team appearances. The latter was also the case for most of his time on loan at Sheffield United, but last year, with Venezia, he was back mostly in midfield. Now it’s Spezia’s turn to put him somewhere.
While it’s fantastic that he’s versatile enough to give his teams these options, there’s perhaps a danger of becoming a proverbial jack of
most two trades rather than a master of one. Shakespeare might have said that the former is better than the latter, but according to Spezia manager Luca Gotti, we want Ampadu to be a master of central defense more than anything else.
“[Ampadu] has no centimeters but he has strong physicality, willingness to play football. For these characteristics he was used as a wild card: [Venezia] put him on the pitch and then they chose the other 10. Chelsea, however, recommended me to use him with his role and these are discussions that we will carry on. They think he will return to Chelsea as a central defensive player”.
-Luca Gotti; source: TMW via Google Translate
Gotti knows Ampadu from his time at Chelsea as Maurizio Sarri’s assistant, so he will have to shift those perceptions a bit if Ampadu is to get time at center back. And no, the 21-year-old is not that short, standing at right around 6 feet.