Ireland’s World Cup qualifying rivals Wales assemble for their crunch tie against Serbia in what could be a make or break game for last summer’s Euros semi-finalists. Like Ireland, Wales trimmed an extended squad with one of the men departing looking like a real prospect.
Ethan Ampadu is a 16-year-old midfielder from Exeter who broke into the first XI of his hometown side last August. The teenager trained with the Welsh during his school holidays and earned his second senior call-up after only seven league appearances. He has earned caps for Wales at under-17 and under-19 level as well as one England under-16 cap.
However, Ampadu is also eligible to line out for Ireland. The youngster is the son of Arsenal player Kwame Ampadu, a former Ireland under-21 cap and ex-resident of the North Circular Road in Dublin. Ampadu senior also played for the likes of West Brom and Swansea and is now part of the Arsenal underage coaching set-up. Devon Live have linked the youngster with a move to his father’s employers as well as Chelsea and Manchester United.
Chris Coleman’s selection of Ampadu in his last two squads shows how highly rated a player he is. Wales are famous for blooding teenagers at senior international level with Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey and Chris Gunter all recent examples. Ampadu might not be far behind them having been trusted at as young as 15 by Exeter boss Paul Tisdale to make his senior bow.
The Irish Independent reported just under two years ago that the FAI were hoping to make an approach for the exciting midfielder but nothing seems to have come to fruition.
The association have always been active in the UK looking for players with Irish roots and Ampadu could be one of the more exciting players to get away. Still yet to earn a senior competitive cap, the teenager remains eligible for Ireland, Ghana and England but it looks like he has committed himself to the Welsh.
Nick Menezes, Pundit Arena