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How Ethan Ampadu can benefit Aston Villa’s reading of the game

This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…

Aston Villa have done some particularly shrewd work in exploiting the loan market in the past year.

Signing Axel Tuanzebe and Anwar El Ghazi on loan last season, Dean Smith also added Tyrone Mings and Kortney Hause to his squad on a temporary basis over the winter.

But they’re once again targeting another loan deal. Per The Guardian, they have an interest in Chelsea teenager Ethan Ampadu.

The Welshman was rarely afforded much game time last season, featuring just three times in the Europa League as he had to settle for a solitary start.

It was a disappointing campaign for the defensive-minded player but he could be set for a new lease of life on loan at the Villans.

On the chalkboard

Despite being the tender age of just 18, Ampadu is someone who plays like an individual beyond his years. He’s intelligent on the ball and calm in possession, boasting a pass success of 87.9%.

Yet, it’s his defensive contribution that can benefit Villa most next season if he joins.

Whether that be as a centre back or as a holding midfield player, two roles he’s featured in for the Blues, his reading of the game is exceptional and his ability to step out and intercept the play is impressive for someone so young.

In the Europa League he made 1.7 interceptions per game in 2018/19 whilst for Wales in the Nations League, that went up to 2.7 per match, completing eight interceptions in three outings.

If you compare that to the current Villa squad then his record at international level is streets ahead of anyone else in the side.

Mile Jedinak was top of their charts making 1.7, but he’s now been released. However, in terms of those who started regularly, Mings had the best stats with 1.2 interceptions on average per 90 minutes.

If Villa are looking for someone who can offer more protection then Ampadu could prove to be game-changing.

Despite still being incredibly inexperienced, his ability to break up the play could be crucial for a newly promoted team who quite possibly won’t see as much of the ball next term.

Having lost Jedinak and Glenn Whelan, you sense as though Villa will need to find someone capable of doing a similar job to make up for their departures. Ampadu could well be their answer.

Article title: How Ethan Ampadu can benefit Aston Villa’s reading of the game

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