Tisdale: England rejected Ampadu for 'too few touches'

Ampadu made his Exeter City debut at 15

Ampadu made his Exeter City debut at 15

FORMER Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale claims England rejected Chelsea star Ethan Ampadu because he “takes too few touches”.

The 17-year-old turned in a magnificent performance in a deep-lying midfield role on his competitive debut for Wales against Ireland last Thursday.

However, he was also eligible to play for England, having grown up in Devon. In fact he played four times for England's Under-15 side and twice for their U16s. He was also selected for an U16 tournament in France in 2015 but elected to represent Wales instead.

After that he represented his mother's country of birth at U17, U19 and now full international level.

Tisdale, who was Ampadu’s manager at Exeter and handed him his senior debut at 15, claims he had disagreements with FA coaches about the player (although some of his quotes are a little confusing, as Ampadu did represent England several times).

“I haven’t seen a 14-year-old as good as Ethan,” Tisdale, who is now in charge of MK Dons, told 5 Live. “I actually phoned England and spoke to very relevant people and said, ‘you have to get hold of this chap, he’s such a good player’.

“There’s always been a hesitation to listen to someone talking about a player from League Two. This is not a league thing, this is not about level, a player’s a player.

“I did phone England when he was 14 and said, ‘I’ve just seen this chap play for Exeter Under-18s. He’s 14, he’s played on a dreadful pitch in awful conditions and has played centre forward, sweeper and central midfield, all in the course of one game, and he looks like Ruud Gullit. This chap, you need to get for England’.

“I was told they had better. I was told they had 12 players better. They were aware of Ethan. I said, ‘this chap, he thinks correctly, acts correctly, he makes good decisions’, and I was told he takes too few touches, they are looking for players who want to take more touches, which is actually his strength - he does things in one, two touches, he sees things early.”

Ampadu, who turns 18 on Friday, signed for Chelsea in July 2017 when he was 16. Although he played for Maurizio Sarri’s side in pre-season, he is yet to make an appearance in 2018/19.

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