Versatile Ampadu ready to play where required
14 October 2020

Versatile Ampadu ready to play where required

Cymru will look to extend their unbeaten start to their UEFA Nations League campaign today (14 October) as Ryan Giggs’ side had to Sofia to take on Bulgaria.

The 0-0 draw against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin on Sunday means that Cymru are yet to concede a goal in League B4, and top the table at the midway point. However, suspension will rule striker Kieffer Moore and midfielder Joe Morrell out of Wednesday’s match, while David Brooks and Aaron Ramsey have both withdrawn from the squad through injury.

Ethan Ampadu played in the centre of defence against Ireland, and his versatility has been a key factor as Giggs has utilised him in both defence and midfield since his appointment in January 2018. Although Cymru kept a clean sheet on Sunday, Morrell’s suspension could mean another positional change for Ampadu, but the 20-year old is more than happy to play his part wherever he is needed.

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“I can play as a centre-back or in a holding role in central midfield,” said Ampadu in an interview with UEFA last week. “Personally, I don’t have a preference. I feel more than comfortable playing any of those positions. As a player, I’d like to think that I’m first of all versatile, that I’m comfortable, I feel like I’m a player that likes to get on the ball and start attacks and build from there. I’d like to think that I bring high energy. I know I’m young, but I like to think that I can make good decisions on the ball and help teams start from the back.”

Ampadu made his senior international debut under Chris Coleman against France back in 2017, and has now made 17 appearances for his country. Currently on-loan at Sheffield United from parent club Chelsea, Ampadu also explained why representing any other country was never really an option for him. “From the first time I came to the Wales camp at U15 and U16, I never really felt or thought about playing for any other nation. I just enjoy the environment and feel comfortable. I don’t know even how to explain it, it just feels right. I feel Welsh.”

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Neco Williams was the teenage hero for Cymru against Bulgaria in Cardiff last month when the young Liverpool star came off the bench to score the only goal of the game deep into injury-time. Ampadu played in the centre of defence that day, and is expecting another tough test on Wednesday. “We had to be patient as they made it difficult. At times, in the first half of that game, we were a bit slow. In the second half, we sped things up a bit and played a bit more and we had a good move for our goal. But they made us work for that, which all teams in our group do.”

Despite a strong start to the Nations League campaign, Cymru will be looking to improve on their last performance on Wednesday, while Ampadu was clear on the ambitions and expectations of the squad heading into the final three fixtures. “We want to win every game,” he added. “I think that’s a pretty standard one to say that every game you want to win, but obviously, it starts with the next game and to do as well as we can. Hopefully we can get into League A.”