Wales boss Chris Coleman has claimed that Chelsea teenager Ethan Ampadu could ultimately follow Rio Ferdinand’s path of developing into a world-class centre-back.
Ampadu, 17, made his Wales debut in Friday night’s international friendly against France.
The former Exeter City youngster played in central midfield for his country, while he has also operated in that position for Chelsea during his two EFL Cup appearances this season.
Coleman, however, has said that the youngster could eventually develop into a centre-back in the mould of former Manchester United and England great Ferdinand.
“He’s capable of playing both [positions]. His frame, athleticism, and understanding of the game, he’s a great communicator for someone so young. So at the moment it’s a tough one to call,” Coleman told reporters.
“He could end up playing holding midfielder or as a centre-back. He’s got a long way to go before you can liken him to someone like Rio Ferdinand but I remember him coming on at West Ham in midfield, he gravitated into a centre-back.
“Probably, in the last 20 years, Rio has been the best centre-back in the Premier League. Your modern day centre-backs start play and you need to be confident in possession. He’s [Ampadu] a good communicator and a good all-round player.”
Ampadu made 13 appearances for Exeter last season before joining Chelsea ahead of the 2017-18 campaign.