Defender or defensive midfielder? Sheffield United boss reveals best role for Ethan Ampadu

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Chelsea youngster Ethan Ampadu can fill in as a defensive midfielder and also a centre-back. However, the 20-year-old has come to that stage of his career when he must decide which role he should continue in for the long term.

Having played as a centre-back while on loan with RB Leipzig, Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder sees him more as a defensive midfielder.

According to Wilder, even Frank Lampard sees Ampadu as a defensive midfielder.

Asked about how much Ampadu fared alongside Berge in midfield against Liverpool last time out, Wilder said: “Definitely. The game has moved on, you have to be so mobile as a professional footballer now.

“Mobility is a key word that everybody uses because of the mobility and athleticism in other teams, so I believe that was the right formation for us – obviously we changed it when we really had to go for it second half.

“The game does become a bit stretched but when you’ve got the likes of Sander and Ethan, the way they get about the park, it gives you a little bit more security.

“I thought Ethan’s performance was outstanding. I know the manager at Chelsea sees him as a sitting midfield player.

“He obviously played at right centre-half at Leipzig and in the middle of a back three as well in his time there, so they saw him in that position.

“But I thought both of them were outstanding last Saturday night [in midfield]. But mobility really is key. They’ve got to be able to handle the football, they’ve got to be able to tactically put themselves in good positions – which they both did for a young age.

“They’re both learners, they’re both very enthusiastic about learning, about getting better, they’ve got a huge appetite for that.

“But the game is moving on and it is a mobile game and players have to get about the park, and we’ve certainly got players that can do that and certainly those two possess those qualities.”

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