This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
Wales’ hopes of qualifying for Euro 2020 are hanging by a thread.
With just two games left of their qualifying group, they lie four points behind the second of the two automatic qualification spots, whilst they are also two points behind Slovakia in third. As they finished second in their UEFA Nations League pool, they will need to at least catch the Eastern European side to have any chance of making it into the play-offs.
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They did manage to grab a point against Croatia, who made the World Cup final last year, in their last match though. It was a game in which Ethan Ampadu started in defensive midfield. The 19-year-old has played just three matches this term, all coming on the international stage, as he struggles for playing time whilst on loan at RB Leipzig. Based on this performance, it is not too much of a surprise as to why.
Unfortunately, he only managed to play 50 minutes after picking up an injury early in the second half, but whilst he was on the field, he was passive. He failed to create a chance or fire a shot at goal, nor was he able to beat his man even once. Playing in defensive midfield, you would have expected him to be at the heart of the action, especially against a team that had 64% possession, but he had just one tackle, and could not complete a single interception.
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His 77% pass accuracy was worse than all but two of the other Wales outfield players who started as well, showing that he clearly didn’t feel too comfortable in possession.
As RB Leipzig look to challenge for the Bundesliga title, they cannot afford passengers and forgettable performances like the one Ampadu turned in against Croatia.
His injury may keep him out of action through no fault of his own, but when he is fit again, he will need to show Julian Nagelsmann more. After all, Ampadu’s latest display suggests his absence domestically so far this season is more than justified.