Liam Cooper's Leeds United influence felt in key summer development for Daniel Farke favourite

-Credit: (Image: Eric Verhoeven/Soccrates/Getty Images)
-Credit: (Image: Eric Verhoeven/Soccrates/Getty Images)


Nerves have been eased for Ethan Ampadu by wearing the Leeds United armband as he prepares for the same honour with Wales tonight. The Dragons face Slovakia in a friendly that prepares their hosts for the forthcoming Euro 2024 tournament.

Ampadu will captain his nation for the first time in that match tonight. The 23-year-old wore the Whites armband on 23 occasions last season, when the starting line-up was missing Liam Cooper, Luke Ayling and Pascal Struijk.

The former Exeter City youth has rarely appeared fazed by anything since arriving at Elland Road and seems to be taking his latest international accolade in a similar stride. Carrying the Leeds mantle has been good practice.

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"The second half of the season I wore the armband for Leeds, so that's probably helped ease the nerves a little bit,” he said. “It's a weird thing to say, but, though I'm wearing the armband, I'm just going to try and do what I do every game.

“I'm not going to try and be any different just because I'm captain. That's just the way I am and how it should be.”

Ampadu has already amassed 51 caps for his country, despite his tender years. He began his fledgling international career in the England set-up at under-16s, but was with Wales from under-17 onwards, owing to his Welsh mother.

“It's definitely a big opportunity and one I'm very grateful for,” he said. “It's a really proud moment for me and my family, and it's something you dream of as a kid.

"It's a massive achievement, one I won't take for granted, but putting that aside, we've still got a game of football to go and win."

Cooper has not had much time with Ampadu as his skipper at Elland Road, but the former Chelsea man did reference every captain in his career as an influence for how he carries himself with the armband.

“Fortunately, every captain I have had has been amazing, whether that's leadership, what they do on the pitch, off the pitch, how professional they are,” he said. “I'm quite fortunate, with Wales and my club teams, I've played alongside a lot of great captains.

“I could name every single one of them, that I could take a little bit from."