Sheffield United’s stand-in manager Paul Heckingbottom has backed Ethan Ampadu to fulfil his potential, after being impressed with the Chelsea loanee.
Ampadu has been a regular for United this season and has played in a number of positions for the Blades. His best performances have come as a left-sided central defender in recent months, although he has stepped in at centre-half and in central midfield when needed.
The Welsh international is still only 20 and will no doubt have learnt a lot from what has been a poor campaign for United. However, on a personal level, he has got plenty of games under his belt.
And speaking ahead of this weekend’s clash with Arsenal, Paul Heckingbottom has no doubt Ampadu will go to the top if he carries on as he is.
“The biggest thing with Ethan is his application and his love of the game and his professionalism to be as good as he can be. That’s a real bonus of him if you like, and he’ll fulfil his potential, wherever that may be,” Hecky said.
But Heckingbottom admits he’s also encouraged Ampadu to nail down a regular postion and work on that going forward. The Blades boss stating he has already had that conversation with the Chelsea man.
“He’s been used in a number of positions cos he’s got a good brain and he knows the roles. But he’s also keen to find a position that he can become a master in and that’s something I’ve encouraged with Ethan,” the United boss added.
“It can be an attribute that you can fill all the gaps. But I think Ethan has aspirations to be a top player at the top teams and at international level, so I think to become a master in one position will help him with that.”
Ampadu has been a success at Sheffield United, regardless of the season
And that’s how Chelsea and even Ampadu will view this year. It will have been a steep learning curve and one which could prove crucial in the young defender’s career going forward.
In fairness to him as well, he has done alright most weeks. He started off a bit shaky but he is only 20 and as the season has gone on, he has improved.
He definitely looks comfortable in those wide defensive positions, stepping out with the ball and driving forward into midfield. But whether Chelsea see him as that going into the future, remains to be seen.
Wales often play Ampadu in central midfield. And he can do that role as well pretty comfortably.
But Heckingbottom is right, Ampadu should go on to become a top player and despite this season’s results, he’s still shown he’s worthy of a place in a Premier League squad next term.