Ake: Always learning

Nathan Ake has started both of our pre-season friendlies to date, and the versatile Dutchman is hoping to use the remainder of matches between now and the beginning of the season to impress Jose Mourinho.

Most comfortable in the centre of midfield or at the heart of the defence, Ake, 19, can also operate at left-back, as he has done in our recent victories against Wycombe Wanderers and AFC Wimbledon.

The youngster laid on our opening goal of pre-season with a wonderful cross, which was converted by Patrick Bamford, against Wycombe, but reflecting on the two matches, he believes there is plenty of room for improvement.

‘In the first game I was pleased with my performance, it went well for me but the whole team played well,’ he tells the official Chelsea website. ‘I managed to get an assist in the first half as well for Patrick, so I was pleased.

‘The second game wasn’t so good for me personally, my crosses weren’t good enough and there were some little points I need to work on to improve, but I’ve taken that on board.

‘It’s important to learn from every game, even when we won 5-0 there are still ways to learn. For example, it’s important to keep a clean sheet so learning how to make sure you do that is crucial, you don’t want to concede silly goals.

‘When you’re 2-0 down you need to do different things, in the second half we played with more players up front and pre-season is a good time to experiment.’

One of the most positive aspects of our pre-season campaign up to this point has been the performances of some of the younger players, both in training and during matches.

Isaiah Brown netted a brace at Adams Park, while Lewis Baker, a team-mate of Ake’s for the last few years, provided the assist for all three goals against AFC Wimbledon.

With John Swift, Andreas Christensen, Jay Dasilva, Jeremie Boga and Dominic Solanke all impressing at various points, Ake has been extremely satisfied watching them flourish.

‘They are doing really well,’ he says. ‘Dominic is the youngest of them all and he’s been brilliant. Everyone knows what they’re capable of because they do it regularly for the reserve and youth teams during the season.’

Ake also reserved a word of praise for his compatriot and close friend, Marco van Ginkel, who has returned from the terrible injury sustained at Swindon Town last September which all but ended his season.

‘He worked so hard to get back to fitness, doing lots of work in the gym and not getting home until really late. He’s very pleased to be back playing and I’m happy for him because he deserves it,’ says Ake.

The arrival of both Diego Costa and Fernando Torres to the training camp yesterday has ensured the defensive players on show will need to be even more alert if they are to catch the manager’s eye during sessions.

For Ake, however, the opportunity to go up against players of such a high calibre is an opportunity he wants to utilise.

‘It’s difficult because they are so strong, both of them are top strikers but testing myself against such good players will only help me improve my own game,’ he explains.

‘In these friendlies all the younger players are looking to perform and impress the manager, if we do that hopefully we will be involved with the squad this season. I’m working hard every day in training, the games are coming and it’s important that I do my best.’