Nathan Aké has been on the cusp of making the transition from the Dutch youth teams, where he was capped 68 times at various age levels, to the senior side for some time now, even captaining the Under-21s on occasion. A full season at Watford and an impressive few performances at Bournemouth that led to his recall by Chelsea were not enough at the time, but the sacking of Danny Blind and the subsequent appointment of Dick Advocaat as national team coach has resulted in a first call-up for Aké to the senior squad.
The 22-year-old made his debut last night in an otherwise rather forgettable 2-1 victory over Morocco, playing at left-back. It’s a position he hasn’t played regularly since the 2015/16 season, but he still managed a solid, if unspectacular game, doing what was asked of him satisfactorily. He was solid in defence, bombed forward many a time and played some good passes through the middle as well. He could’ve definitely exerted more of an influence on the game but it was a good international debut overall for the versatile youngster. If Aké plays a part in their World Cup qualifying game against Luxembourg (i.e. an “official” FIFA match), it would also eliminate the possibility of him playing for Cote d’Ivoire, via his father’s nationality.
"It's great that we won, but it was not the best game.”
"I had hoped that I would get a few minutes. This is a childhood dream. You always want to play in the Dutch national team and if you now state it, that's nice."
"It (his performance) was okay, at the end I was a bit tired, because I have not played left back for a while. I'd rather play center back, but if I play, I'm satisfied."
- Nathan Aké; source: FCUpdate.nl
Hopefully it’s the first of many starts for the youngster in the Netherlands’ colours.