If Wales wanted some hope to cling onto after missing out on qualification for this summer’s World Cup, they found it in Ethan Ampadu’s debut against France in November.
Comfortable on the ball, the Chelsea midfielder, who can play in defence, looked at home in the Welsh midfield at the Stade de France.
The potential the 17-year-old possesses is something that is shared by the Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte.
As the Pensioners gear up for their FA Cup third round replay on Wednesday evening against Norwich City, Conte, speaking to the club’s official website, was warm in his praise of Ampadu.
“He will start as one of the three central defenders. He deserves to play. He’s showing that in every game I make this decision, like against Everton and Bournemouth.
“He’s shown me he is ready to play with the right concentration and be ready physically and tactically to play at this level.
“It’s unusual for a player who is only 17 but that shows age is not important if I give you the chance to play and you repay me with a great performance. We are talking about a really great prospect for Chelsea for the present and future.”
Chelsea haven’t won since their 5-0 demolition of Stoke City on December 30.
A 2-2 draw with Arsenal in the league was followed by the 0-0 draw with Norwich at Carrow Road in the pair’s original tie.
Another meeting with Arsenal, this time in the Carabao Cup, ended in stalemate; as did Saturday’s home draw with Leicester.
Norwich have lost their last five FA Cup replays away from Carrow Road. Ampadu, Conte and Chelsea will be looking to make that six on Wednesday night.