Leeds United supporters will be delighted with player's Kalvin Phillips-esque moment: View | OneFootball

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Football League World

·30 November 2023

Leeds United supporters will be delighted with player's Kalvin Phillips-esque moment: View

Article image:Leeds United supporters will be delighted with player's Kalvin Phillips-esque moment: View

Ethan Ampadu collected his first meaningful goal contribution for Leeds United after a fantastic assist for Georginio Rutter in the 3-1 win over Swansea City in West Yorkshire.

The Whites have made Elland Road a fortress, winning seven games from ten in all competitions, including the last six league games in a row.

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The latest win took them closer to Leicester City after they dropped points, however, Ipswich also won 3-1 to keep the gap to seven points.

How did Leeds play against Swansea?

Ampadu started the game against the Welsh side, in what was his 20th game for Leeds already. He has played every minute of every game in all competitions for his new club since joining from Chelsea this summer.

Ampadu has been one of Leeds' most consistent performers so far, but he, and Leeds, had a strange start to their game against Swansea when, just a matter of seconds into the game, Dan James thought he had given Leeds the lead as he smashed home from close range, only for the offside flag to deny him.

In a frantic opening minute, Swansea then took advantage of the let-off when Pascal Struijk headed the ball back towards Illan Meslier but sold the Frenchman short, leaving Jamie Paterson to finish expertly by chipping Leeds' number-one.

Leeds' disappointment at going behind inside the opening minute didn't last long when Joel Piroe slotted home from Crysencio Summerville's pass to score against his former employers.

The visitors made life difficult for Leeds and Ampadu in the first half by swarming the midfield and pressing intensely, but the one time they stood off allowed Ampadu the time and space to pick out an excellent pass for his first assist of the season.

Georginio Rutter collected his inch-perfect long ball forward superbly and raced clear to slot home past Carl Rushworth. Had the 23-year-old hit the pass any closer to goal, the Swansea 'keeper would likely have come out to sweep it away from Rutter.

Leeds then settled into the game in the second half, and James made amends just past the hour, finishing with power on his left foot to seal the points for the home side.

How good is Ampadu?

Naturally, due to his age currently, and the position he is being deployed in, Ampadu is compared with another former Leeds favourite in Kalvin Phillips.

During Leeds' Championship campaigns under Marcelo Bielsa, a pass like that, especially out to the flank, was a particular feature of Phillips' game in the pivot role. Ampadu is in a midfield duo, but has the quality in his locker to make passes like that, and it was of Phillips-esque quality.

Wearing the number four on his back, Ampadu has quickly established himself as one of Leeds' best and most consistent players in the middle of the park. The Wales international penned a four-year deal at Elland Road, and joined the club for a fee of around £7 million plus add-ons which could rise to £10 million, per Phil Hay of The Athletic.

Chelsea also inserted a sell-on clause in his deal, according to Fabrizio Romano. Ampadu is arguably the best midfielder in the league already, something Leeds haven't been able to say since the likes of Phillips and Pablo Hernandez could stake a claim for that sort of title.

Despite many fans being unsure of whether he would be deployed in midfield or at the heart of the defence, he has proven to be a high-quality, press-resistant defensive-midfielder. He’s played every minute of every game in all competitions so far and proved to be undroppable: he is vital in duels, breaks up play, and also instigates attacks from deep.

Players like Ampadu may not always get the plaudits as they are not likely to score or assist often, which is why his first for the club stood out as something special. The Welshman is a fantastic player and capable of doing that more frequently as the heartbeat of Leeds' team.

He is a player to build the side around for now and the future, and could be as crucial as Phillips was if Leeds are to be at the right end of the table this season and next year, no matter what league they are end up in for 2024/25.

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