NATHAN Ake says he wants to persuade his new boss he is a David Luiz in the making rather than just a defender.
The Chelsea youngster made a handful of first-team appearances last season and was named on the bench for the Europa League final by Rafa Benitez.
But if the Blues thought they were moulding another great back-four player, the 18-year-old Dutchman has other ideas and will do his best to persuade the new manager – expected to be Jose Mourinho – that he is ready for the switch.
“I think my best position is in the midfield role,” he told the Chronicle . “I started the season at centre back, but changed position in some games and I think my awareness got a little bit better, which is the thing I need to improve.
“I’m more a holding midfielder and I look to David Luiz’s example. Sometimes he says before a game that I should watch how he plays so I can learn from him.
“He had to learn to play in midfield, because he started out at centre back as well.
“I’m not worried about the change of manager. I’ve already had a lot of managers since I’ve been here, but I don’t care about that. I keep training hard and if you do that, every manager will give you opportunities.”
Wherever Ake plays next season, he can look forward to taking further strides towards a regular starting place, having made a great impression so far.
“This past season’s actually gone better for me than I expected,” he said. “I started the season in the U21s and didn’t expect to go so quickly into the first team.
“I think it started from December that I started to train with the first team and I think I trained all right.
“Then they gave me a chance at Norwich in the last minute and from then on, it’s gone even better.
“I’ve been a lot on the bench and played sometimes. John Obi Mikel went to the African Cup and that’s why I got some space and I thought I did well.”
Ake is highly motivated by his surroundings at the Cobham training ground, and the players around him.
“It’s obviously great going out on to a training ground with some of the best players in the world,” he said. “You watch them on TV and now you’re training with them every day.
“They help you a lot because they’ve got a lot of experience, so they talk with you. Players like John Terry give you advice.
“I think the manager [Benitez] helped me a lot. He said that I have to develop and have to keep training hard, those kind of things. He kept me motivated.”