Brief cameo appearances in both the league and cup competition was all that was needed for the 17 year old former Exeter player to convince Conte that he was ready to play for Chelsea’s first team.
With just two minutes on the clock, the youngster was already involved in the heat of the game for a hard tackle on veteran Bournemouth striker, Jermaine Defoe. He got a yellow for the tackle and many expected a tough evening for the 17-year-old.
It’s awkward and bizarre to be carded just two minutes into a game, but the young defender weathered the storm by displaying composure, maturity and skillset beyond his age. He has every look of a superstar player in the making.
Earlier this week, Conte had bluntly answered to questions about the prospects of Chelsea academy players getting into the fist team. He had this to say: “I have the right expectations for the players who are not usually playing with regularity, but deserve this chance.
“If they don’t deserve it, I don’t like to give presents. Stupid presents. If you deserve it, you’ll have your chance.”
The youngster, a look-alike of Brazilian defender David Luiz, justified his manager’s claims with a superb performance that thrilled the fans and even his manager.
He said: “He played the whole game with the problem of a booking after one minute.
“It’s not simple as a defender as you have to play 93 or 94 minutes. He showed great character. Despite his young age, he showed great maturity. I think Ampadu deserved to play this game. Now he has to stay calm.
“He’s very humble and he could have a great future. He must continue to work.”
This is an awesome remark from his manager. Conte’s approach to utilising the talents at his disposal is commendable. Identifying the need to keep these young players motivated, focused and prepared to play at any time for Chelsea’s first team will in no time yield great results. The potential rise of Ampadu is a good lead to other academy players in and outside the club. The young defender has done his talking on the field of play and could possibly follow in the good stead of Andreas Christensen in being the next big star to emerge from Chelsea’s academy. This should get David Luiz worried as he now has not one, but two players to compete against for a place in Chelsea’s first team. Just maybe in a couple of years, Chelsea might have the dream team of homegrown players we’ve been dreaming and waiting for. Then that day we’ll remember Ethan Ampadu as one of the leading shinning lights.
Let’s hope for the best. Cheers!