Ethan Ampadu, 17, in line to make Chelsea debut in cup - Antonio Conte
LONDON -- Chelsea youngster Ethan Ampadu will be on the bench and could make his senior debut for the club against Nottingham Forest in Wednesday's Carabao Cup third round tie at Stamford Bridge, Antonio Conte has confirmed.
Ampadu, 17, trained with the Chelsea first-team squad at Cobham this week in preparation for the match along with fellow academy prospect Dujon Sterling, who could also be among the substitutes.
Eden Hazard will make his first start at club level since May as he steps up his recovery from a broken ankle, while Charly Musonda and Kenedy will also feature. Conte views the competition as a good stage for those outside his starting XI to make an impression, and is ready to give Ampadu a chance.
"Ampadu is a young player, but I think he has good quality," the Italian said. "He has good prospects to become a Chelsea player. He's strong physically, with good technique and personality.
"Yes, I think we have to continue to work with him and to try and improve him, to bring him to the next step. But for sure he has good prospects to become a Chelsea player."
Ampadu has enjoyed a meteoric rise since making his Exeter City debut as a 15-year-old in August 2016. He joined Chelsea's academy for undisclosed compensation this summer and was included in Chris Coleman's 25-man Wales squad for last month's World Cup qualifiers against Austria and Moldova.
"I don't think that, if your national team calls you [up] and you are 15 years old, it puts pressure on you," Conte said of Ampadu. "You must be proud of this. But, for sure, he has to work a lot to deserve another call-up to the national team.
"We must be pleased because this player is a Chelsea player and now it's important to work very well with him and try and improve his weaknesses. He's a young player, but I'm sure he's a good prospect for Chelsea."
Conte also reiterated his willingness to give meaningful opportunities to young players if they prove themselves worthy.
"I think if you are good enough to play with a great team, you play," he insisted. "Every coach wants to win. I don't care if one player is a young player or an old player.
"If a player, an old player, 36 years old, makes me happy and helps me to win, I pick him. It's the same if a player, a young player, 16 years old, helps me to win, I'm ready to do this also.
"Now we have a clear example with [Andreas] Christensen. Christensen played on loan at Borussia Monchengladbach and now he's in our squad. He played maybe every game and now he's ready to play. Ready to play in the Champions League, ready to play from the start with Chelsea.
"I think, for the young players, it's very important to find the right path for them. To try to [give] them good experience and then to be ready to play for Chelsea.
"Don't forget that my first appearance in Serie A [with Lecce] was when I was 16. I think I'm the first person to trust in the young players, to give possibilities to them, if they deserve this chance, if they give me the possibility to win. I want to win. I don't want to lose."
Liam is ESPN FC's Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Liam_Twomey.