Ethan Ampadu put in a defensive masterclass in Wales’ UEFA Nations League victory against Finland, which could help him secure a Chelsea spot under Frank Lampard.
The new season could be a decisive development phase for the 19-year-old after an unfortunate loan spell at RB Leipzig last season.
In total, he spent less than three hours on the pitch in the Bundesliga and the Champions League during a season-long stint, including his remarkable 90-minute performance against Tottenham Hotspur back in February.
Ampadu’s limited game time was largely due to his back problems, but the teenager has now returned to Chelsea and is reportedly determined to fight for a place in squad under Lampard (Goal).
It would not be easy, however.
Ampadu is back at Chelsea for pre-season training and, based on the recent friendly against Brighton, Lampard might see him as a midfield option as he replaced Mateo Kovacic in the second half.
Although he could be the sitting defensive midfielder Chelsea have lacked since Nemanja Matic’s departure three years ago, Lampard still has plenty of options for the holding midfield role with Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic, N’Golo Kante and Billy Gilmour capable of playing the same role.
Ampadu’s versatility would make him a valuable squad player, however.
A new centre-back option?
In Wales’ 1-0 win over Finland on Thursday Ampadu, who has mostly played in midfield under manager Ryan Giggs, put in a solid display as a centre-back.
He made three tackles, one interception, four clearances, won four out of four ground duels and was not dribbled past even once in 90 minutes.
Ethan Ampadu v Finland
90 Mins played
76/78 Passes (96%)
4/5 Long balls
4/4 Ground duels won
2/3 Tackles won
1/2 Aerial duels won
2 Possession lost https://t.co/uo4lYwMrar
— 🏖 Chelsea Loan Army (H.E) (@ChelseaLoanArmy) September 3, 2020
Those were not even the most remarkable stats from his performance. It was his 97.4% passing accuracy as he completed 76 out of 78 attempted passes, including four accurate long balls.
Although Thiago Silva’s arrival means fierce competition for centre-back roles, Lampard could mould the young Chelsea talent into his very own ball-playing defender in the long-term.