Ethan Ampadu Will Hope Wales Now Soothe The Bitter Taste Of Another Relegation

Ethan Ampadu will be keener than most to pull on the red shirt of Wales this week, having suffered more  disappointment at club level over the weekend.

Most players go through the deflating experience of relegation at some point in their career,  but at the age of just 22 the Chelsea defender has already felt that sinking feeling three times.

What’s more, those falls have occurred in successive seasons, once in the Premier League with Sheffield United, where Ampadu was on loan, and now twice during his loan spells in Italy.

The former Exeter City youngster could not prevent his current team, Spezia, from dropping out of Serie A, even though he scored in a 3-1 defeat to Hellas Verona.

Last season, while on loan at Venezia, he experienced relegation from Serie A, and in the 2020-21 season, he was with Sheffield United when they finished bottom of the Premier League.

With one year remaining on his contract, Ampadu is set to return to Chelsea this summer, where he will hope to finally make the long-anticipated breakthrough into the first team.

Before then, he will this week join the Wales squad in preparation for their Euro 2020 qualifying matches at home to Armenia on Friday and then away in Turkey on Monday, June 19.

After finishing level on points with Hellas Verona at the end of the season, Spezia were compelled to participate in a relegation play-off.

The rule was reintroduced by Serie A at the start of the campaign, dictating that a play-off would determine the final relegated side if teams in 17th and 18th place were tied on points, rather than relying on goal difference.

Under the previous system, Spezia, who finished 17th, would have retained their top-flight status.

In the play-off against Verona, Ampadu managed to equalize for Spezia with a superb long-range effort in the 15th minute, marking his first goal for the club.

However, Cyril Ngonge emerged as the hero for Verona, scoring twice to give his team a 3-1 lead.

Despite Verona goalscorer David Faraoni being sent off for a deliberate handball in the second half, Spezia couldn’t mount a successful comeback, with M’Bala Nzola missing the ensuing penalty.

The 3-1 defeat resulted in Spezia’s relegation, ending their three-year stint in Serie A.

You have to dig deep to find Welsh connections to Manchester City’s treble triumph, which was secured with their 1-0 victory over Inter Milan at weekend in the Champions League final in Istanbul.

Tommy Doyle was not on the field for Pep Guardiola’s team, or among the substitutes, but he is considered one of the club’s brightest young prospects.

That’s not as fact that will interest Wales manager Rob Page, as Doyle is most certainly English, but it might jog the memory of Cardiff City fans.

They saw Doyle turn out 19 times for the Bluebirds in the 2021-22 season, where he spent an impressive season on loan, before returning to City and then a more recent loan spell at Sheffield United.