Gabriel Agbonlahor was flabbergasted that Gareth Bale was awarded the man of the match award for Wales last night over Ethan Ampadu.

Speaking on talkSPORT, Agbonlahor argued that the Chelsea loanee was miles better than his international teammate against the USA yesterday.

Ampadu and Bale started together for their country’s World Cup opener in Qatar on Monday evening.

Photo by David Ramos – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

Chelsea’s academy graduate, currently on loan in Italy with Spezia, lined up opposite to fellow Stamford Bridge servant, Christian Pulisic.

Both young players had a point to prove on the grandest footballing stage.

Ampadu versus Pulisic

Pulisic is expected to carry the new generation of Stars and Stripes to success at the competition.

Meanwhile, Ampadu has the chance to impress his employers at Cobham and hopefully earn a return to South West London.

In fairness to the pair, they both played an important role for their respective nations in their Group B opener.

It was Pulisic’s purposefully drive and delicate assist that set up Timothy Weah to open the scoring for the United States.

Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

Gregg Berhalter’s American boys were superior in the first-half, but Wales turned up after the interval.

Their cranked-up pressure finally prevailed, as Bale earned his team a penalty inside the final ten minutes of normal time.

The 33-year-old smashed home from the spot kick to ultimately earn the Welsh Dragons a point.

Wales’ saviour was named FIFA’s man of the match, an award Agbonlahor thought was thoroughly underserved.  

“I thought he was the worst player on the pitch for Wales. 100%. People will back me. He couldn’t do anything right all game. He popped up, what he does big moments, big goals, with the penalty,” said the former striker on Bale.

“But every time he got the ball, he was giving it away. Nothing was going right for him. I don’t know how he got man of the match.

“There were so many better players. Kiefer Moore for his second half performance. Ampadu was very good.”

The Welsh warrior

Ampadu embodied the Welsh spirit that has helped Rob Pages’ men in the past before.

Photo by Richard Sellers/Getty Images

He committed to every challenge, whether in the air or on the ground, and put his body on the line whenever necessary.

A crunching tackle in the final moments of the match that left the defensive midfielder hobbling was the epitome of his commitment.

It might not have been pretty, but it was definitely effective.

Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.