Ethan Ampadu: Leeds skipper tipped to be future Wales captain

Ethan Ampadu
Ethan Ampadu has already played for Wales at two major touraments, the delayed Euro 2020 and the 2022 World Cup

Wales boss Rob Page says Ethan Ampadu is a future national team captain.

The 23-year old is set to win his 50th Wales cap when Wales face Finland in a Euro 2024 play-off and will become the youngest Wales player to the milestone.

Already captain of club side Leeds United, Ampadu has time on his side to break records for the most appearances for a Welsh men's team player.

"He's a great lad, very humble, doesn't get carried away and he's a model pro on and off the pitch," Page said.

"He's a future Wales captain, 100%, he's already captain of Leeds, a big club.

"They wouldn't have given it to him [the captaincy] if they didn't think he could cope with it. I know him a bit better and I can see why he's taken it so well and he'll enjoy it.

"It seems like he's been around forever because of the age he was when he got his debut but he's a great lad first and foremost."

Ampadu, whose father Kwame played professionally, featuring for the likes of Arsenal and Welsh sides Swansea City and Newport County, made his Wales debut as a 17-year old, having initially joined the senior squad when he was just 16.

By 16 Ampadu had already made his debut for club side Exeter City, featuring regularly at St James' Park after his debut when he was only 15.

A move to Chelsea followed, with Ampadu enjoying loan spells with RB Leipzig, Sheffield United, Venezia and Spezia as he waited for his chance at Stamford Bridge.

Ampadu played just 12 games for the Blues before switching to Leeds United in 2023 for a fee of around £7m.

Having worked with Ampadu both as Wales' age-grade manager and senior boss, Page says Ampadu is a coach's dream.

"His performances are consistent week in week out and I train with him throughout the year and he trains how is during the game," Page explained. "That's what you want.

"You can't have half measure through the week and expect to turn it on on a weekend so he leads by example and credit to him.

"He was in the under-15s and under-16s with Wales, he didn't come through me and the u21s, he was already in the senior team, that's why he's getting his 50th cap now.

"But ever since I've worked with him I've loved everything about him."

Ampadu has been a midfield lynchpin for Wales, building a key partnership with Birmingham midfielder Jordan James.

However, for his club side, Ampadu is currently playing as a defender, having formed a good understanding at centre back with his fellow Wales international, Joe Rodon.

Page insists Ampadu's versatility is a positive for club and country.

"We've always known Ethan can play centre back and I do like him as a centre back, it's great to have that luxury that he can play more than one position," he added. "Ethan's just as good playing as a six in midfield as he is at the back.

"I like him as a centre back because he keeps you high up the pitch, you can play a high line and not be worried about if he's fazed about pace in behind because of his athleticism and aggression.

"Ethan and Joe (Rodon) have been exceptional this season. I've been to Leeds quite a bit and they've been outstanding.

"When you've got someone like Ethan who can play a multitude of positions he's a great asset to the team."