Wednesday 17 January 2018

Ireland set to make a play for teenage starlet Ampadu

Demand for rising star Ethan Ampadu is hotting up, both at club level and on the international stage. Photo: Clint Hughes/Getty Images
Demand for rising star Ethan Ampadu is hotting up, both at club level and on the international stage. Photo: Clint Hughes/Getty Images

John Fallon

Ethan Ampadu - son of former Ireland U-21 striker Kwame Ampadu - is at the centre of a tri-nation tug-of-war.

The 15-year-old is one of the hottest teen talents in English football, with Exeter City braced for the midfielder's exit to one of the Premier League's big four in the coming months.

Demand for the rising star on international stage is every bit as keen. Ampadu represented Wales in November and trained with England recently at St George's Park.

Ireland are also on the trail of his allegiance, with U-16 manager Tom O'Connor revealing they have contacted the player's father about his availability.

The FAI can only hope that Kwame's strong Irish connections prove influential when the time arrives for the youngster to resolve his international dilemma.

Born in Bradford to an Irish mother and Ghanaian father, Kwame grew up in Portland Place, off the North Circular Road, and starred for local schoolboy club Belvedere.

Arsenal recruited Ampadu for their youth team, where he formed a fruitful partnership with Andy Cole, eventually earning a first-team debut for the then First Division champions in 1990.

"It's early days yet but we've made enquiries about Ethan through his father and he is certainly a player we are interested in," said O'Connor.

Meanwhile, former Ireland international Mark Kinsella will assume the role of ambassador on the Ireland U-16 backroom staff for a four-nation tournament in Dublin that kicks off on Sunday against Austria.

Irish Independent

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