Jose Mourinho has hinted that young Dutch midfielder Nathan Ake is ready to challenge for a place in the Chelsea first team, and could start in the Champions League on Tuesday.

  • By Michael Bell
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ake chelChelsea are set to be without holding midfielder John Obi Mikel for the Champions league tie against Maribor on Tuesday evening, and Jose Mourinho has hinted that 19-year-old Nathan Ake could be picked to start in his place.

Mourinho told a press conference today, “For┬áthat place I have Nemanja Matic and John Obi Mikel, two players who have quite a lot of similarities. Nathan Ake can also play there. He has little experience, but he is ready.”

Since swapping Feyenoord’s youth academy for Chelsea’s in 2011, Ake has played as both a central defender and a holding midfielder, with the latter set to be the position he builds his future around. The Netherlands U21 international, who scored twice against Portugal in the recent European Championship play-offs, has made eight appearances for the Chelsea first team in total, but only one so far this season, and that was in the Carling Cup.

A number of clubs reportedly looked to loan Ake in the summer, but Mourinho blocked the move, allowing fellow Dutchman Marco van Ginkel to join AC Milan until the end of the season instead. Ake will be hoping to now grasp the first team opportunities that come his way, possibly starting tomorrow, and stake his claim for a regular place in the Blues midfield, which in turn could see him challenge for the Dutch national team.

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