Chelsea: Ethan Ampadu wants to be part of Blues squad next season after impressing during Venezia loan

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Ampadu wants to force his way into Thomas Tuchel’s plans (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
Ampadu wants to force his way into Thomas Tuchel’s plans (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Ethan Ampadu is proud to be in Chelsea’s pre-season squad - but is determined to convert his chance and become a permanent presence in the first-team set-up.

The 21-year-old centre-back was on loan at Venezia last season and has survived an initial cull of loanees from the Chelsea squad in America - with Billy Gilmour and Tino Anjorin being sent home to train with the Under-23s.

In the 2-1 win over Club America in Las Vegas at the weekend, Ampadu performed well during his 45-minute display in the second half.

He wants to do what Trevoh Chalobah did last season and force his way into Thomas Tuchel’s plans.

“Of course [I want to emulate Chalobah] but it’s not just me as there are a few of us with that same mindset that want to break through,” Ampadu said.

“We’re out here now and it’s our chance to show it. Like every footballer out there, my dream is to be at the top. I don’t think that’s a bad thing to say and dream; everyone wants to be at the top. It’s about fighting and getting towards that.

“I just want to keep improving, keep putting my head down, fighting and working every day. That starts in pre-season to try to get the chance. It’s hard to say because I am not at the top, I’m not playing week in, week out for a team trying to win the Premier League and Champions League.

“So until you get to that point – and once you get there you have to maintain – but it’s about getting there. This club fights for everything: Champions League, Premier League. It’s all about fighting here and trying to get to the top.”

Ampadu, a versatile defensive player, played for Tuchel in the middle of a back three in the opening pre-season match.

He replaced Thiago Silva at half-time against Club America and isn’t concerned that he often changes position... as long as he isn’t playing as a striker.

“Fortunately just not as a striker!” he joked. “I played in the middle in a back there today and he knows that I can play in a variety of positions – last pre-season I think I played as a midfielder a little bit. So it’s about trying to show what I can do in whatever position he puts me in.”

 (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
(Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Ampadu’s future could be tied to possible incoming signings, with Paris Saint-Germain’s Presnel Kimpembe and Sevilla’s Jules Kounde in talks over moves to Chelsea.

Regardless, these pre-season games will perfectly showcase Ampadu’s talents, whatever the future holds, and he believes he is a better player than he was a year ago - after a successful loan spell in Italy.

“I learned a lot about myself and definitely improved,” he said. “So it’s just about taking that momentum and trying to carry on. I’m nowhere near to where I want to be yet so there’s still a lot way to go.

“It’s labelled as a very tactical and defensive league [in Serie A] but there is a lot of great quality going forward. You learn little tweaks and details to try to make yourself better as a defender.

“I was happy to go anywhere to play football. That was in Italy and I enjoyed it out there. It’s one of the top five leagues, it’s a very good league.

“And it was a good experience. Yes, it was hard at times because we were losing quite a bit but I feel like it was a good loan.

“Everyone says and agrees that the only way you develop is by playing games and last season I was fortunate to play a lot of games week in, week out.”

The next move is important for Ampadu, who has the chance to play at the World Cup with Wales in November.

Even with England in the same group as Wales in Qatar, first and foremost Ampadu is keen to focus on his club football.

“The World Cup definitely adds something else but even If there wasn’t the World Cup, as a professional footballer you want to play,” he concluded.

“I enjoy playing and I want to be playing week in, week out. But the World Cup is definitely something you want to be going into feeling fit and fresh.”

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