Wales national team skipper Ashley Williams has named Chelsea youngster Ethan Ampadu as his replacement. The Everton centre half opines that the youngster has a bright future ahead of him in the Welsh set-up.
Williams says Ampadu can fit into his shoes when he retires from international duty. He says the player can become a regular for the national team. The 16-year old agreed terms with the defending league champs few weeks back, preferring a move to Stamford Bridge instead of the other top flight sides interested in his signature.
The young player and Ben Woodburn, who is at Anfield, are considered some of the biggest Welsh prospects. Exeter City coach Paul Tisdale confirmed that many sides were interested in him but that he feels Chelsea was the best place for further development. Whilst he's odds-on at NetBet Online Sports Betting and Odds to be heading out on loan somewhere else this season, he may get a chance to play for Chelsea in the 2018/19 season.
Tisdale praised him for managing school and training while at Exeter City, while featuring in age group games for Wales. Ampadu holds the record for the youngest player at Exeter to have appeared in a League Cup. He was below 16 years when he broke the 83-year old record. He led the Under-16 and Under-17 Welsh side and his display earned him an invitation to train with the senior squad.
During a training camp with the senior Wales team in Portugal ahead of their important World Cup qualifier against Serbia in May, Ampadu made a good impression that Williams could not shake off.
“I enjoy being away with the lads too much and the playing in terms of an international week is the last little bit. So I don’t think I have any need to retire. It would be more like when you are not getting picked.
“I wasn’t going to retire until I saw Ethan Ampadu in Portugal. He’s something else,” the former Swansea man declared.
Williams added that Ampadu plays the same role as him so he could grow to be his replacement.
“Even I’m thinking, ‘Ok, if he progresses how he should, then he will be a natural replacement for me.’ It made me feel a little bit better in terms of when my time is to retire.”
The defender claimed he does not want to retire and let it seem as if he was letting his country down or that he has to stay on because there are no good options. He says when it is time, Ampadu can come straight in but that for now he is trying to help groom the young lad.
On him walking away soon, Williams said there are no immediate plans despite speculation placing it around summer 2018 when he would be 33.
He joined those backing Coach Chris Coleman to continue in his role, even past the World Cup 2018. Coleman might step down after the event in Russia, if Wales make it. He has done brilliant work with the team but more experienced hands might be employed to manage the higher profile of the country in the international scene.