Is Chelsea youngster set for key role after squad number announcement?

Nathan Ake was revealed to be wearing the number six shirt this season, giving him hope for a key first-team role.

The 19-year old Dutchman has made seven competitive appearances for the Blues, winning the Europa League in his first season as a professional footballer.

Voted as Chelsea's Young Player of the Year in 2013, versatility is Ake's finest trait, appearing equally comfortable at left-back, central defence and in a holding role in midfield. He looked to be making incredible progress in the 2012/13 season, and, although Jose Mourinho kept the youngster in the first-team fold for the duration of last season, he managed just one appearance in all competitions.

However, he did captain the Blues Under-21 side to victory in the Under-21 Premier League, displaying a maturity in his performances that can only be learnt from exposure to first-team football.

And it looks as if the Dutch Under-21 international is set for a breakthrough season at Stamford Bridge, having been awarded the number six shirt for the upcoming Premier League campaign.

Prior to the Blues pre-season fixture with Real Sociedad, the first-team playing squad was introduced to the home crowd in West London, and amongst all the recognised faces, both Ake and fellow youngster Andreas Christensen were given squad numbers for the oncoming season - and Ake looks to have guaranteed himself some key playing time with a number commonly associated with the starting 11.

Thanks to his versatility, there is a good chance that Ake will be seen this season, although there is a wealth of talent ahead of him. Cesar Azpilicueta and new singing Filipe Luis will likely be starting left-backs, whilst John Terry, Gary Cahill, Kurt Zouma and Branislav Ivanovic can all feature in the centre of defence. However, it has been reported that Mourinho intends to promote youth when needed this season, and Ake may be the first recipient of the Portuguese coaches new mentality.

Previous wearers of the number six shirt at Chelsea include current Monaco man Ricardo Carvalho - who won three Premier League titles during his spell in London - and 1998 World Cup winner Marcel Desailly, who captained the side prior to John Terry's promotion.

If Ake can replicate the form of his numerological ancestors then he will have nothing to worry about, as he looks to become a key member in a new era at Stamford Bridge.

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