Forget Lukaku and Mata - Could this be Mourinho's biggest mistake?

Stamford Bridge

Should Chelsea have carried over where Rafa Benitez left off and afforded more opportunities to Nathan Ake?

Jose Mourinho is busy bemoaning his profligate strike force at present, as well he might - but it is hardly the only area of the team without fault.

While much has been made of his loaning out of Romelu Lukaku, and early omission of Juan Mata - there is one teenager who should count himself particularly unfortunate not to have been given a first team opportunity.

Step forward Dutch teenager and Ruud Gullit lookalike, Nathan Ake.

The teenager is capable of playing in central defence and central midfield - as he did in last season's Europa League quarter-final from the start against Rubin Kazan, hugely impressive in the process.

Ake made six first team appearances in the latter part of last season, playing in the Premier League and FA Cup as well as Europe.

This season however he is yet to feature, not even selected in the Capital One Cup.

Ake has instead made nine under-21 appearances for Chelsea, and played all five UEFA Youth League games, scoring two goals in total.

Of all the youngsters who could have been loaned out for experience too, you might have thought the one closest to the first team would be afforded a spell if he were not going to be used by Mourinho - but instead Ake finds himself caught in the middle.

Failing to use Ake is not just frustrating for the youngster, it's a missed opportunity for Chelsea so far.

With Chelsea shipping goals, Mourinho could well have rotated his current options in central defence better, given his key men rest and Ake a chance.

With Champions League qualification all wrapped up, the game at home to Steaua Bucharesti would be the perfect time to do so.

Ake's ability to play in midfield is also a reason why he should have been used. Instead of placing faith in Michael Essien whose best days are behind him, the young Dutchman with a point to prove would have been a far more attractive option surely - while also helping keep Frank Lampard fresher.

It's unclear as yet what plans Mourinho does have for Ake, but it would be a shame if this season was a completely lost one for him considering the superb promise he showed last time out.

image: © geetarchurchy

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