Men's Team

Guardiola sounds salute to 'exceptional' Ake

Pep Guardiola has hailed the positive attitude and commitment of Nathan Ake, describing the Dutch international as ‘an exceptional part’ of the City squad.

The centre half delivered a number of key displays last term, playing his part in helping City secure back-to-back Premier League titles.

And after a positive pre-season, the 27-year-old produced a stellar performance at West Ham last weekend, as City opened the new league season with a fine 2-0 win at the London Stadium.

There had been some speculation about Ake’s future over the summer.

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But asked at his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s home game with Bournemouth whether he had needed to reassure Ake about his importance to the squad, Guardiola was unequivocal in his response.

"Absolutely not,” the City boss declared.

“The players know that I want everyone to be happy here. There are always rumours and offers in the summer transfer time. Maybe he had an offer.

“But it is not because I am now happy with how Nathan is playing. Last season I was incredibly happy. You cannot imagine how nice that guy is.

“I always talk about how I like to work with the nice people. People I understand and you cannot believe how nice he is. Always I say in moments be patient because the calendar is crazy.

“On Saturday, maybe if Kalvin (Phillips) and Cole (Palmer) cannot be fit to play we have just 14 players plus the young players. Everybody is going to play - they just have to be ready.

“With five substitutions (this season) even more. Sometimes I will use the five substitutes, sometimes maybe not. I like to work with a smaller squad and try to avoid injuries of course and use the young players we have in the Academy and go forward.

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“And Nathan always waits his moment, always helps and that is why he is incredibly respected in the locker room.

“Teammates don't like much the guys who have one face when you play and another when you don't play. I don’t like it either but especially the team mates.

“Of course, Nathan is sad when he doesn’t play… that’s normal.

“But in the moment of training and after that in the locker room, always he is exceptional.

“That is why of course with Aymer (Laporte) injured and John (Stones) not able to come to the States, he played and played really well at West Ham against Michail Antonio who is not easy.”

Meanwhile the boss also reiterated his admiration for Bernardo Silva and desire to see the midfielder stay at City.

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Guardiola described the playmaker as a very important member of his squad, hailing him a ‘special player’ when replying to questions about the Portugal international’s future ahead of Saturday’s clash with the Cherries.

Again, extolling the many qualities of the Portuguese midfielder, the City boss also pointed to striking similarities between Bernardo and Ake in terms of their positive personality and all-round team ethic.

“I said last time, I want Bernardo here - 100%. Because I love him. The reason I am manager is because I can train players like Bernardo. He is a special person for me in these years," Pep asserted.

“The same as Nathan, how he behaves, he is always the same when he plays or does not play. He is positive and he makes our lives better together.

“But as I have said before, I don’t know what will happen, but he knows how much we like him and want him, and how much we love him.

“But at the same time, I don’t know what is going to happen.”

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