Nathan Ake has been working with Manchester City coaches over the summer to prepare him for game time in several positions. Ake joined from Bournemouth for around £40m.
When City's initial interest was revealed to him, Ake admits he was taken by surprise. Speaking to The Mirror, he said: “I had to pinch myself in the arm. I was thinking, ‘Is this real?’. When I heard they wanted me to come to Manchester I was bowled over. Manchester City are one of the best clubs in the world and Pep Guardiola is one of the best managers in the world.
“I had a really good talk with Guardiola and there was an instant connection. The way City play really suits me. I have played against them so many times and I know how hard it is to face them.”
Ake has already spoken about City's plan to use him in three positions but now says the Blues will look to use him across the backline.
“I have been working with a physical coach for ages at City," he explained. “I have been told to focus on several positions at the back, but that is fine with me. I am going for it. I have grown up in the Premier League in a brilliant way.”
Ake also insisted he has nothing to prove to critics who say the leap from a relegated side to title challengers is too much.
He said: “I have not signed for City thinking I can prove all the critics wrong. I have already proved to myself that I have the ability to play at top level – and I love a challenge. I showed that when I was a kid playing in my hometown in the Hague and I moved to Rotterdam to join Feyenoord. I showed it again when I packed my stuff and moved to Chelsea.
“I have had to work incredibly hard to make it to the top – and I know I am ready. I have also achieved my dream of playing for Holland. I was desperate to keep Bournemouth up – and we failed. We allowed too many goals against us and I was a defender in the team.
“Yet, apparently people judged my individual performances as alright. Maybe that is ability and experience, to make sure that you keep your own level up all the time.”
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