Antonio Conte has confirmed that Ethan Ampadu will continue his senior Chelsea development by starting Wednesday's FA Cup replay against Norwich City.
The versatile 17-year-old has won plenty of plaudits from fans and the media alike for his mature displays for the reigning Premier league champions in his first few senior starts already this term.
And, speaking to the club's official site ahead of the visit of the Canaries, Conte stated that Ampadu was deserving of more game time for the first team due to the manner of his displays, particularly in the Carabao Cup.
The Italian said: "He will start as one of the three central defenders. He deserves to play. He’s showing that in every game I make this decision, like against Everton and Bournemouth.
"He’s shown me he is ready to play with the right concentration and be ready physically and tactically to play at this level.
"It’s unusual for a player who is only 17 but that shows age is not important if I give you the chance to play and you repay me with a great performance. We are talking about a really great prospect for Chelsea for the present and future."
Why do so many Chelsea fans have it in for Ethan Ampadu ? I don’t get it, the kid is so young, just become a full Wales international, he’s looked full of confidence & hasn’t put a foot wrong everytime he has featured, it’s not his fault he was bought & not (developed by us)— No Smoke Without Sarri (@MadMontana) January 16, 2018
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Ampadu is capable of playing in defence and midfield and has been earmarked as a future Chelsea superstar despite only making four appearances for the Blues' first team.
Meanwhile, Conte also admitted his team selection for the third round contest would be determined by who shows the desire to start by training well.
Genuine question: why are Chelsea trying so hard for Andy Carroll? Can't understand their transfer strategy apart from the need of homegrown players.— Liam Canning (@LiamPaulCanning) January 16, 2018
The 37-year-old will likely rotate his squad after complaining that some of his stars are tired recently, and stated that places were up for grabs ahead of the Norwich clash.
He added: "The most important thing in the training session is to always show great commitment and desire to fight for a chance to play.
"Every single player must have this desire and will to learn, improve and put yourself in contention. That’s the best way for every single player, to improve himself and show me a great desire.
"For sure, when you have 16 or 17 seniors players, if everyone shows you great commitment you have to make a decision because you can only play with 11."