English Premiership

Ake up for challenge on Chelsea return

2017-01-10 21:08
Nathan Ake.(Getty Images)

London - Nathan Ake is looking forward to the challenge of forcing his way into the Chelsea team and thanked Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe for playing an important role in his development.

The 21-year-old defender was recalled early from his loan spell with the Cherries by Blues boss Antonio Conte after impressing the Italian over the past few months.

Having joined Chelsea's youth set-up in 2011 from Feyenoord, Ake made 12 appearances for the first team across three seasons, as he spent much of his time there out on loan at Reading, Watford and then Bournemouth.

He spent the early part of the season watching from the sidelines before forcing his way into Howe's plans, playing 12 games and scoring three goals including a winner against Liverpool in the 4-3 win in December 2016.

Speaking to Bournemouth's official club website, the Dutchman said: "Over the six months I feel I have developed as a player, both on and off the pitch.

"To start with I wasn't playing too much, but I dealt with that mentally, kept going and was happy when I got my chance.

"I was able to learn a lot from the [Bournemouth] manager [Eddie Howe]. He spoke to me a lot about how I could improve and I picked up a lot of little ideas and different ways of thinking.

"Of course the Liverpool game was the standout moment. It was a crazy game and to score the winning goal was an amazing feeling. It's something that I'll remember for the longest time."

He added: "That was not the only good memory. We also had some other good games where we kept clean sheets which were great and other games which I will remember for the wrong reasons."

Ake will now be looking to provide competition for left-back Marcos Alonso in the Chelsea starting line-up and will be hoping to be involved when the Blues face Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.

Kick off is scheduled for 19:30.(SA Time)

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AFC Bournemouth v Manchester City, Vitality Stadium 13:30
Crystal Palace v Swansea City, Selhurst Park 16:00
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