A member of Chelsea’s loan army was in inspired form on Tuesday night and might have handed Frank Lampard his best surprise of the transfer window.
Ethan Ampadu is on-loan for the season at Sheffield United and they have been having a right old time of it so far in 2019/20 – until Tuesday.
Ampadu and his Blades teammates finally picked up their first win of the season at the 18th time of asking as they beat a poor Newcastle United side 1-0 at Bramall Lane, Billy Sharp bagging the all-important goal from the spot against the Toon, who had Ryan Fraser sent off on the stroke of half time.
The Welshman has been a regular for Chris Wilder’s side this season, playing 12 times though Ampadu’s teammates have struggled defensively as they have shipped 29 goals in 18 games before earning that elusive clean sheet against the Toon Army.
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Ampadu looked every bit the promising prospect he is on Tuesday, completing 88% of his passes, winning three tackles, making three interceptions and four clearances in a man of the match performance for the Blades exactly when they needed it.
The 20-year-old is still searching for consistency in his game but with his display last night, Lampard and his coaching staff in west London will have been thrilled by what they saw.
Ampadu’s versatility, the ability to play in both midfield and defence, is something that Lampard is desperately searching for and he appears to have settled on Declan Rice of West Ham, but there is next to no chance of a move materialising until at least the summer at the earliest.
Certainly a January move from east to west London is nigh-on impossible with the Hammers in a strong position, not only in the Premier League and enjoying one of their better seasons since moving to London Stadium but in terms of finance.