Nathan Ake

Nathan Ake
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Nathan Benjamin Ake

Current Club: Bournemouth.

Previous Clubs: Chelsea, Feyenoord, ADO Den Haag.

Loan Clubs: Bournemouth, Watford, Reading.

International: Netherlands 10 caps 1 goal.

Trophies Won: Premier League 2015, 2017. League Cup 2015. Europa League 2012/13.

Ake was a big money buy for Bournemouth, who highly valued his ability to play a number of positions to a similar level, though they mainly use him at centre back. The lad himself has often come out and said he feels he is a midfielder, and he has regularly played at left-back. He is a very accomplished footballer, but his defending does leave a fair bit to be desired, as he is regularly caught ball watching.

The Manchester City game being a case in point, the Cherries played a deep-lying defence but the ball in behind him was on all the time and they used it constantly. Guardiola (or his analysts) had obviously spotted that weakness in his game, as a ball in behind when a defence is deep is very rarely one that works, but they made it work time and time again.

That despite Ake being extremely quick, which shows just how caught out he was for that kind of ball, into a small space, to be successful repeatedly in the first half. What he is very good at, maybe even exceptional at, is his reactions to his mistakes. It helps that he is pacey, but he reacts very well to being caught out of position to race back into a position to block a shot, pass or cross, or even make a challenge.

In the air he is strong, especially on the run as his running power provides him with an excellent leap, which enables him to rise above many taller men to reach the ball. His leap is still good from a standing start, just not of the same order as his running jump. Ake is still able to compete with taller men, but he does not usually rise above them as he can when they are both making a running jump.

His main strength is his ability on the ball. Ake's left foot is very strong and he has a good passing range, as you would expect from a player that sees himself as a midfielder. It puts him in the top echelons for ball-playing defenders on the ball, though his ball watching, and positioning because of it, does mean he is not at that level overall.

Timing in the tackle is very good, though nothing outstanding, he is better at using his pace to get in ahead of a forward and nick the ball away before it reaches them. Which is probably a good thing as, particularly when squared up by a tricky forward, he is not the best at one-on-ones. Forwards can ghost past him quite easily at times, though Ake is not one to let his head drop and will keep chasing them usually, so they do not get an easy a time of it as they could otherwise.

I feel that he has the potential to become a top class defender, but he has to focus on being a defender and improve on those aspects of his game. Right now Ake plays like a midfielder who is back there covering, rather than a defender. If he forgets about where he wants to play and concentrates on where he is playing, and applies himself solely to that in training, then Ake could end up a top class centre half. If he carries on as he is doing, he will end up being one of those players who never truly reaches the heights they should.

Requested by - Manctom


Written by Ed001 March 07 2019 07:35:59