Chelsea face difficult choice on forgotten ace who could be Thomas Tuchel's next Trevoh Chalobah

Chelsea face difficult choice on forgotten ace who could be Thomas Tuchel’s next Trevoh Chalobah

«As a footballer, you want to play in every game, and as a kid, I loved playing every game. It does help on big occasions, but week by week, you want to play football. No one likes to sit and watch it.»

Ethan Ampadu’s words probably never rung more true than when he helped Wales to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 64 years. The 21-year-old Chelsea ace completed the full 90 minutes at the Cardiff City Stadium as Rob Page’s side overcame Ukraine 1-0. The youngster, who spent last season on loan at Venezia, slotted in on the right side of a back-three with Joe Rodon and Ben Davies to keep keep a clean sheet in the play-off clash.

It was a solid outing from the Welshman who once again showed his versatility, in a season where he has been present across the backline and utilised as a defensive midfielder in Serie A. Despite suffering consecutive relegations, Ampadu’s reputation was only enhanced during his time in Italy and once again he is set to return to Cobham in a bid to impress Thomas Tuchel.

The international break may delay Ampadu joining the squad for pre-season – those representing their national team will be back in training from July 9th, a week later than their counterpart – he will have significantly more time to impress his coach than last summer where EURO 2020 delayed his opportunity to train in front of Tuchel.

Despite his situation in the summer of 2021, much talk of Ampadu’s future was that he was being considered for a place in Chelsea’s squad due to his versatility. The Welshman was even originally named in Chelsea UEFA Super Cup squad before dropping out alongside Tino Anjorin to be replaced by Trevoh Chalobah and Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Chalobah’s route into the first team squad shows a number of similarities to Ampadu’s journey so far, and the former was able to progress from an impressive pre-season to produce some stand-out performances over the course of 2021/22.

It was a deadline day move that saw Ampadu leave Stamford Bridge while agreeing a new three-year contract, and the former Exeter City midfielder is in an improved position to find a place in Tuchel’s squad. While an extended period of pre-season, and the potential of being part of the squad for the Blues’ pre-season tour for the USA are beneficial, Thomas Tuchel’s rebuild provides a firm opportunity.

Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen’s contracts are at their end, while the future of Cesar Azpilicueta remains in the balance, while Jorginho and N’Golo Kante are coming to the final 12 months of their own deals. Chelsea are a side in transition and Ampadu will have the versatility to fill in a number of roles.

Where EURO 2020 created a pause in the youngsters attempts to impress at Stamford Bridge, could the World Cup in 2022 throw another spanner into the works for Ampadu’s path at Chelsea? Qualification for Qatar will only reinforce Ampadu’s enthusiasm for regular football to ensure he will be at his peak for the Winter tournament.

However, Tuchel has made clear in the past that Chelsea will take priority in such decisions. Even when conceding that Azpilicueta should be able to decide where his future lies, the Blues boss made clear that his team would selfish if required.

The Blues will need to decide whether Chelsea are best served by keeping Ampadu or continuing his development elsewhere once again. Their success in the transfer market may dictate their actions.

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