Despite his versatility, quality, and promise that’s earned him several caps for the Welsh national team already, Ethan Ampadu has been limited to just 200 or so minutes across three appearances (two starts) under Maurizio Sarri. Granted, Ampadu is just 18 and he has had to contend with a laundry list of older, more experienced (and better?) names ahead of him in the pecking order, both in midfield and in defense, but after featuring seven times already last season, the season so far has been more of a sideways rather than a forward step.
With the January transfer window now open, it’s only normal that he’d be linked with loan moves away. But just like in the summer, when we upset at least one Neil Warnock by denying him Ampadu, Chelsea remain adamant about not loaning out the big-haired and big-attituded teenager who plays well beyond his years every time he gets a chance. Not even to Frank Lampard’s promotion-chasing Derby County.
“We have asked, but I don’t think he’s leaving Chelsea. He can play in a few positions, that’s why he would be so valuable to anybody and why he’s staying at Chelsea.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Telegraph
Ampadu started on the right side of midfield on Saturday against Nottingham Forest, and did little wrong in the role normally reserved for N’Golo Kanté. It’s the position for which Sarri deemed to he had no backup to turn to previously. May we see more of Ampadu in the upcoming months? The kid himself is staying focused, as one would expect.
“I enjoyed it. It’s nice being back out there on the pitch in front of the home fans. It was tough playing in that position for the first time this year but I’m just grateful to get minutes.
“I’ve been training in that position for the last couple of weeks. Obviously we’ve had a few injuries haven’t we so I’ve slotted in there in training and I guess when you try and train well you hope the manager can see that. You’re got to stay focused, stay sharp for whenever the chances come. You’ve got to train and prepare in case something does happen so you can fit in.”
“It’s always about the next game but when you think of the bigger picture, and the bigger targets, you want to win everything. Obviously we won [the FA Cup] last season so we want to try and defend it. I was injured last time so I didn’t get to be involved so hopefully I can be a bit more involved this year.”
-Ethan Ampadu; source: Chelsea TV via Football.London
With Chelsea collecting more injuries than goals or points these days, not to mention the expected departures of Cesc Fàbregas and Gary Cahill, Ampadu’s quality and versatility should hopefully see him collect many more minutes this season and beyond.