Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has been speaking about his defensive midfield options ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League game against Maribor.
Speaking ahead of that game, Mourinho said, “(Nemanja) Matic and (Jon Obi) Mikel are quite similar, in that position we are stable. Nathan Ake doesn’t have experience but is ready.”
That is a bold and encouraging statement from the Chelsea boss regarding a 19-year-old who is one of the club’s most versatile players.
Ake can play as a centre-back, a left-back or a defensive midfielder, and it is in the latter position that he looks like featuring most regularly for Chelsea – at least in the short term.
The competition for places all over the pitch means a player like Ake is more likely to get chances than a youngster who can only operate in one area of the field; and it is a huge statement from Mourinho that at just 19, Ake is “ready” for first-team football at Stamford Bridge, seemingly including Champions League encounters.