Nathan Aké turned 22 years old on Saturday, which is a remarkably low age considering that it feels like he’s been in and around the Chelsea first-team for a lifetime. I suppose that’s what happens when you make your debut at 17 and then spend half a decade wandering around England and Europe on loan.
But Aké’s now back, recalled from Bournemouth in January, and making his second start for the club. Already looking the most composed of the three center backs, he even showed off his versatility by switching to left wing-back for the final 20 minutes.
He stopped by to chat with Chelsea TV after the game, talking a bit about the players’ perspective on how the game went and about what was no doubt a not very happy dressing room at half-time.
“It was really tough. They came out really well. In the first half they pressed us high and we couldn’t really play out. We didn’t keep the ball and they won the second balls.”
“We needed to the change that. In the second half we came out much better, more confident on the ball, winning first balls and second balls. They didn’t really create anything in the second half and we started to create chances. The second half was much better, but the first half was not very good.”
“Yes, of course [we expected them to start quickly]. Places like this are always difficult in the FA Cup. You see the [other] games before on the television; for big teams it’s so hard to come to places like this. We knew it was going to be like this but we weren’t 100% from the start. And that needed to change, the manager made that clear [at half-time].”
-Nathan Aké; source: Chelsea TV
Happy Birthday, Nathan Aké! Here’s to many more, starts and birthdays both.