CHELSEA DEFENDER SUFFERING FROM GROWING PAINS

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Chelsea youngster Ethan Ampadu has been forced to withdraw from the Wales squad with a back problem and will miss the friendly against Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday, as well as Sunday’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Slovakia.

Wales head coach Ryan Giggs believes the 18-year-old’s problems are being caused by growing pains.

The youngster has featured just five times for Chelsea this season.

“It is frustrating,” Giggs told reporters. “He’s at that age where it’s in between his age group and the first team. So a lot of the time he’s travelling with the squad.

“I went through it a little bit, when you don’t play, then you go back to your own age group. It’s just that balancing act because he’s not getting the minutes that lesser players would get because of his quality.

“He reminds me of Steven Gerrard because he’s still growing. They pick up these little knocks and strains.”

Giggs also hinted Ampadu could benefit from a loan move away from the club.

“He’s played the odd Europa [League] game or cup game for Chelsea and, because of that talent, I can see Sarri wants him around the first team,” Giggs added.

“But it’s just been a bit stop-start, together with the injuries, which is frustrating because he is an amazing talent and he’s shown that in the games he’s played.

“We’ve had players in the same situation – David Brooks, Harry Wilson, Ben Woodburn – talented players who’ve gone out on loan and benefited from it. But if he can force himself into that Chelsea squad then that would be great.”

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OTONY
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