Scout Report – Ethan Ampadu
Chelsea have completed the signing of 16-year old Ethan Ampadu from lower league side Exeter City and are negotiating with the League Two club over the compensation to be paid for the highly-rated teenager (Guardian).
Ampadu made 13 appearances for the Exeter first-team last season, after becoming the youngest player to feature for the club at the age of 15 years, 10 months, and 26 days, against Brentford in August 2016. The young central defender was monitored by the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal as well, but it is the Premier League champions that have pipped their rivals to his signing.
Highly rated by everyone in and around Exeter, let’s take a closer look at who exactly Ethan Ampadu is and why his transfer should be met with excitement by the Chelsea fans.
Born on September 14, 2000, in Exeter, England, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that football was in his blood, with his father Kwame Ampadu enjoying a fairly successful career in the game with the likes of Arsenal, West Bromwich Albion and Swansea to name a few. He is now the coach of the Arsenal U18s side.
Spotting his talent at a very young age, Ampadu was signed up by Exeter City at the age of 7 in 2007, and his rise through the ranks at the Exeter Academy has been rapid, to say the least. So much so that Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale handed the youngster his senior debut last season, on 9 August 2016, against Brentford.
With that, Ampadu became the youngest ever player to represent Exeter, breaking an 87-year old record held by Cliff Bastin. To top that, he was also named as the man of the match on his bow. He went on to make 13 appearances over the course of the season.
Having had trials with the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United at some point in his career, the two clubs were monitoring his progress too, but it is Chelsea who have snapped up the youngster after he signed his first professional contract with the Blues.
Ampadu is eligible to represent England, Ghana and Wales and the youngster has chosen to play for the Dragons, despite having played once for the English U-16 side. The 16-year old has played for the Wales U-17 and the U-19 side and was named the Welsh Best Young Player of the Year for 2016. He has been closely monitored by Wales manager Chris Coleman and was even invited to train with the senior team in May earlier this year.
Style of Play
A midfielder by trade, Ampadu can play in a central defensive role as well in a left-back role.
The biggest strength of Ampadu’s game seems to be the maturity that he shows belying his extremely tender age. His decision making under pressure, his awareness of when to play the ball by himself and when he needs to pass it high up, is something that has been widely appreciated. Manager Paul Tisdale has highlighted this on many occasions. The Exeter City gaffer once said:
“The biggest compliment I can pay him is that he plays like a 35-year-old.”
Great with the ball at his feet, a very good reader of the game and technically very sound, he really looks like a naturally gifted player and seems to have a very bright future ahead of him.
Watch this clip of his against Luton Town in his first start in a midfield role for Exeter.
Ethan Ampadu, Chelsea's newest academy protegee, in action. Has been involved in several Welsh training camps. pic.twitter.com/Bu06ZZrTui
— Michael Jones (@jonesmichael_97) July 1, 2017
What Does the Future Hold?
Chelsea are known for having one of the best youth development squads in place and it is a huge step up from the level at Exeter City. While Ampadu will not be playing first-team matches for the Blues like he did for his former club, the move to a huge club like Chelsea does bode well for him as it will allow him to test himself. The only way from here for the player, is up.