Nathan Ake is reaping the benefits of his hard work while not playing for Manchester City last season, according to manager Pep Guardiola..
Ake was on the bench for City’s first two seasons, but has emerged as the club’s first-choice left-back this season.
Joao Cancelo has been forced to seek a loan move away from Bayern Munich due to his form, and no defender has made more appearances this season than Ake.
Guardiola has previously praised Ake for his model attitude when he is not on the field, and has expanded on that idea to claim that the Dutchman has now earned his ‘karma’ for his efforts over the last two years.
These types of players perform well because, when they are not playing, they are the most generous and committed to the club,” Guardiola told Sky Sports.
“When something like this happens, you don’t have regrets because you were prepared.” When you weren’t playing, you were preparing, not making excuses or complaining about anything other than yourself. You were training to learn what the team needed, what the manager wanted, and what you could do better.
“I’m not saying it was all fireworks at home when he wasn’t playing as frequently. That is not what I am saying. When you are asked to play again, you will be prepared..
When this occurs, karma, or whatever you want to call it, works. That is why he was worthy of playing.”
Guardiola is not only impressed with Ake’s attitude, but also with his defensive awareness in order to assist Rodri and his fellow defenders.
“Teams like Brighton and Arsenal, for example, they use a lot of build-up,” Guardiola explained. The players in the back are the ones who get the most touches on the ball.
“If you always play long balls to the strikers’ heads, they will be the players who touch the ball the most.” In our case, our central defenders and Rodri must be able to do this, which is exactly what he is doing.
He is an outstanding defender. He’s amazing in the set-pieces, his attention to what we need in the process, and he’s really good in the tight spaces. That’s why he’s playing. That’s all there is to it.”
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