I’m enjoying football more since leaving Chelsea – I was hurt by what happened earlier in my career

By Staff

Ethan Ampadu is ready to make a big splash in football as he gears up to become the youngest Welsh player to win 50 caps – and he’s admitted he’s enjoying his football more than he did before he left Chelsea.

Ampadu spent six years at Stamford Bridge, most of which were spent out on loan, before he made the permanent switch to Leeds United last summer.

He moved from Exeter to Chelsea when he was 16 and had loan spells at RB Leipzig, Sheffield United and Italian clubs Venezia and Spezia during his time at in west London.

Despite suffering three relegations and headlines claiming he was cursed, he has helped Leeds reach the top of the Championship after making a permanent £7million move to Elland Road last summer.

“It’s a lot nicer and more enjoyable when you are winning,” said Ampadu. “I have taken the feeling of three relegations and how much that hurt me. I have used that as a motivation to not have that feeling again.”

The 23-year-old is on track to break Chris Gunter’s record at just 23 years old in Thursday’s Euro 2024 play-off semi-final against Finland in Cardiff.

The versatile Leeds star, who can play as a centre-back or in midfield, will hit the 50-cap milestone at the same age as England legends Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen.

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“Everyone wants to try and achieve it as quickly as they can,” said Ampadu, who made his Wales debut against France as a 17-year-old in 2017.

“Whether that was by the time I was 23 or 28, just to achieve the milestone itself is a massive achievement. I’m not really too interested on how quick you can do it.

“I’m still young but I’ve experienced a lot, which I’m very grateful for. I’m hoping I’ve still got a long way to go in the game and I can achieve a lot more.”

Ampadu has started every league game for Leeds and stepped up as captain with Liam Cooper injured, while Wales boss Rob Page has tipped him as a future captain of his country.

“I didn’t expect it (captaincy), but I was proud and very happy to see it and it has come naturally to me. Daniel (Farke, Leeds manager) has placed a lot of trust and faith in me and I wanted to repay that. I still play every game as I did at the start of the season. I haven’t changed.

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