Julian Nagelsmann’s RB Leipzig have added to their defensive ranks with the signing of Wales centre-back Ethan Ampadu. The 18-year-old has signed on a season-long loan from English Premier League side Chelsea.
bundesliga.com provides you with all you need to know on the ball-playing centre-back likened to David Luiz...
Club: RB Leipzig
Position: Centre-back/centre midfield
Country: Wales (8 caps)/England (U16 cap)
Ampadu was born in Exeter, England, and became one of only three players in the history of the English League Cup to make his debut before turning 16. In August 2016, at 15 years, 10 months and 26 days old, Ampadu took his bow for his hometown club. It wasn’t long before the talents of the defender were seen at the highest level, and he made the move to Chelsea in the summer of 2017.
His Premier League debut came in December 2017, at just 17 years old, although the 5”6’ defender has spent most of his time at Chelsea playing for the U23 team, making 18 appearances and scoring one goal. He did, however, make 12 appearances for the Chelsea first team, three of which came in the London side’s UEFA Europa League-winning campaign in 2018/19.
Ampadu’s eight international appearances have come against the likes of World Champions France, Croatia and Spain, but he is yet to complete 90 minutes at senior level. Wales head coach Ryan Giggs has preferred to play Ampadu in central midfield, which he has also done on occasion for Chelsea.
Plays a bit like: David Luiz
Ampadu is a near-perfect incarnation of the modern centre-back: confident on the ball, quick, and strong aerially and on the ground in challenges. The Welshman has been compared to Chelsea teammate David Luiz, and not just because of their Sideshow Bob-style hairdos.
Ampadu is confident enough on the ball to play as a defensive midfielder, as well as a centre-back, while his composure on the ball, to take the time to find the right pass despite being put under pressure from centre forwards, belies his age. Helped by the fact that he is as confident on his preferred right foot as he is with his left, it allows the teenager to get out of tricky situations, but also create attacking scenarios for his team from deep.
Did you know?
Ampadu could have played international football for England, the Republic of Ireland, Ghana, or Wales, opting for the latter by virtue of his mother's Welsh roots. He was first called up to the Wales squad in May 2017, at the age of 16, and made his debut for the national team in November of the same year, against France at the Stade de France.
What they’re saying
"He's an amazing talent and he's shown that in the games he's played." - Wales head coach Ryan Giggs
“He’s a fantastic boy, a fantastic player and he has great humility." - Chelsea defender David Luiz
"Despite many offers from England, Ethan has decided to join us, and we now have another top talent in our ranks that brings even more versatility to our squad." - Leipzig sporting director Markus Krösche