Ethan Ampadu hopes to follow Callum Hudson-Odoi’s footsteps at Chelsea while also naming the four players who have helped his development at the club.
Ampadu has been earmarked as one for the future at Chelsea, having joined from Exeter in the summer of 2017. The 18-year-old was heavily linked with a loan switch to Derby County last summer but the west London club refused to let Ampadu go with Maurizio Sarri keen on developing the young player at Stamford Bridge.
So far, Ampadu has gone on to make five appearances in all competitions this season, with his latest an 11-minute cameo against Malmo in the Europa League last Thursday. Yet despite only a handful of games, Ampadu understands the challenge of integration to Sarri’s senior squad and has pinpointed his fellow teenager Hudson-Odoi as an example to follow.
Despite having not yet started a league match under Sarri, Hudson-Odoi has otherwise impressed in the minutes afforded to him by the ex-Napoli boss and Ampadu hopes to do the same.
“All the young lads are up for the challenge of trying to make that transition into the first team, and so we’re all looking for those opportunities,” said the Welsh international. “Callum [Hudson-Odoi’s] recent experiences are an inspiration to the rest of us, but we just have to keep working hard and learning from players in front of us. I’ve had to raise my game to another level here because I’m training with world-class players. I know I need to get quicker and stronger, but it’s exciting to train with this level of player, an absolute joy.”
A versatile centreback who could also fill in as a defensive midfielder, the 18-year-old Ampadu has earned the respect of the senior players at Chelsea, with David Luiz describing him as an intelligent player mature beyond his years. In return, the Welsh international has expressed his gratitude at the Brazilian as well as three other senior centrebacks in helping him settle at the club and raise his game.
“Everyone has been helpful, so not just the players but the coaching staff too. David [Luiz] has been a big help. He plays in my position, and all of the guys, like Gary [Cahill], Toni [Rudiger] and Andreas [Christensen], who I speak with every day, they’ve all been great with me,” continued Ampadu.
“I’m never afraid to ask for help if I need it. Also, they’ve all been where I am, the young guy, so they all know what it’s like. Hopefully, if I can keep working hard, I’ll get a couple of chances.”