Welsh chief believes the young Blues ace has the potential to emulate the Brazilian as they play a very similar style
CHELSEA starlet Ethan Ampadu has been hailed as Wales’ David Luiz.
Blues defender Luiz is comfortable playing either centre-back or in an advanced midfield role at Stamford Bridge.
But Wales boss Chris Coleman believes Ampadu, who made his Chelsea debut in Wednesday’s 5-1 Carabao Cup win over Nottingham Forest, is in the same mould as the Brazilian.
And the pair even have the same big hairstyle!
Ampadu, who only turned 17 last Thursday, became the youngest debutant for the Blues since Michael Woods in January 2007.
Coleman said: “Yes, he’s very similar to David Luiz. Look at young Ampadu’s style of play, he’s a stylish centre-back or holding midfielder.
“He’s very good on the ball, excellent in possession but he’s a good defender as well.
“For someone so young he reads the game really well and that’s what is really attractive for a club like Chelsea.”
Ampadu, the son of Kwame who had spells at Arsenal, West Brom and Swansea, is a product of Exeter’s academy where he became their youngest ever player at the age of 15.
The whizz-kid moved to Chelsea from the west country in the summer but the two clubs have yet to agree compensation for the transfer – Exeter want £3m, Chelsea want to pay less.
Now the case is heading for a tribunal.
Ampadu has captained Wales at Under-16 and Under-17 level and even trained with Coleman’s senior squad before Euro 2016.
And he has been tipped to follow in the footsteps of Liverpool’s Ben Woodburn by bursting onto the full international stage in the near future.
Now Coleman, who named Ampadu in his squad for the World Cup qualifying wins over Austria and Moldova, hopes the teen star can buck the trend at Chelsea where young players find it difficult to get first-team experience by forcing his way into Antonio Conte’s plans.
He added: “He’s a very good player and I can see why Chelsea have targeted him.
“The track record at Chelsea of the kids coming through has been tough. It’s been quite scarce.
“Who is to say he will be different.
“I was up at Anfield watching Liverpool against Crystal Palace recently and the boy (Ruben) Loftus-Cheek was playing.
“He came through Chelsea’s academy and he looked very good – very impressive.
“So they have produced good players. It’s just not so many have come through to their first team.
“Ethan was always going to end up at one of the big clubs. It’ll be up to him whether he is going to come through at Chelsea.
“Looking at him now, he’s showing all the signs of being a top level defender.”
Ampadu made such an impression during his summer Wales call-up for a training camp in Portugal prior to the qualifier in Serbia that captain Ashley Williams quipped he feared for his international future after hailing the fledgling defender as “unbelievable”.
But Coleman said: “I remember Ash saying that. I don’t think he has got much to worry about at the minute. I’m sure Ethan respects Ash immensely.
“We have to be careful with young players. He still has so far to go – just like all young players.
“But he’s certainly got all the signs at the minute to say he will be a good player.”