Frank Lampard will have been watching RB Leipzig’s victory over Spurs with a keen eye on Ethan Ampadu.
With a season-defining game against Spurs at the weekend, the Chelsea manager’s initial thoughts will have been on Jose Mourinho’s side and how they will line up for Saturday’s grudge match.
But the Welshman’s performance as the anchor of Leipzig’s defence was so imperious that Lampard must have looked on in admiration and regret that the Blues let him go so easily in the summer.
Ampadu signed for Chelsea from Exeter back in 2017 and his youth team performances earned him sporadic call-ups to the first team throughout the following two seasons, making 17 appearances in all competitions.
The versatile defender was lower on Lampard’s radar upon his arrival in the summer than Fikayo Tomori who had played a season for the 41-year-old at Derby County.
Leipzig came knocking and Chelsea let the 19-year-old leave on a one-year loan deal.
The German side are yet to start him in a Bundesliga game with the youngster only making three substitute appearances for the second-placed side in Germany’s top flight.
Ampadu has played in the last three Champions League games, though, starting two.
His dominant display at the back at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was a real coming-of-age performance for the youngster, who knew this was the biggest stage to impress his parent club.
The fact he has played in midfield throughout his career means he is confident and able on the ball and that showed against Spurs.
In the middle of a back three, passing is just as important as defending, especially under the progressive Julian Nagelsmann.
He marshalled the makeshift Spurs attackers like a seasoned Italian defender from the noughties and brought the play forward when there was space in the middle with ease.
But it was the range of passing that the teenager expressed which stood out most.
From five-yarders to long range diagonals, he barely misplaced a pass all game, ending with a 95% pass accuracy from 97 passes (20 more than any other player.)
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Chelsea’s greatest performance under Lampard came against Spurs back in December, winning 2-0 thanks to two goals from Willian.
The Blues played with a back five that game and Kurt Zouma started in the middle on that occasion.
But since that day, things have only gone down for Lampard and his side – especially at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea have only managed one clean sheet in eight since that memorable Sunday afternoon and are in need of a calm head at the back.
They have chopped and changed formations and personnel in defence trying to find the right formula for some solidity.
With just five clean sheets in 26 Premier League games, Ampadu may be in line for a starting position at Chelsea, who are yet to settle on a partner for Rudiger.
This season will have been tough on the Welshman, sitting on the bench in Germany while all the Chelsea academy graduates like Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham and Tomori have been given their shot.
But as Chelsea’s form has dipped of late, his opportunity against Spurs was the perfect chance to show Chelsea exactly what they were missing.
And what better way to impress Chelsea and their fans than to put in a Man of the Match performance against Spurs?