Ethan Ampadu may not yet have featured on loan in the Bundesliga with RB Leipzig this season but his international displays continue to draw praise, in particular from Wales boss Ryan Giggs.
The teenager, who turns 19 next week, played 75 minutes in Cardiff as Wales rescued three points in Euro 2020 qualifying with a late goal against Azerbaijan to secure a 2-1 victory. It was a significant win to keep them in the running for a top-two finish in Group E, which has Hungary, Croatia and Slovakia all vying with the Welsh for a place at next summer’s finals.
Giggs was particularly impressed with Ampadu’s fitness levels, a consequence of the hard work put in during pre-season after niggling injuries disrupted his season last term.
‘It’s the fittest he’s been for a long time,’ said the Wales manager.
‘It’s very tough for him to get through 90 minutes so it’s best how to manage Ethan. He’s hardly played in seven or eight months but puts in a mature performance like that.’
Giggs went on to pay tribute to the youngster’s natural leadership qualities, which have already come to the fore in the dozen appearances he’s made for Chelsea to date.
‘He’s a future leader and it’s great to see him get minutes on the pitch,’ he continued. ‘It’s my hope that he’ll get more games and he’ll get better.’
Wales take on Belarus in an international friendly on Monday night.