Jose Mourinho Hints At Shock Start For Young Star

Ahead of Chelsea’s UEFA Champions’ League match against NK Maribor, the Slovenian Champions, Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho has dropped a hint of a very rare start for midfielder Nathan Ake. Mourinho would be without midfielders Ramires, Andre Shurrle and John Obi Mikel, leaving Nemanja Matic and maybe Cesc Fabregas to the holding midfield role for the match. The manager in his press conference before the match tonight said: “Matic and Mikel are quite similar in that position, we are stable. Nathan Ake doesn’t have experience but is ready,’’ Mourinho said on the club’s twitter page. While many still wouldn’t see an Ake start for Chelsea considering the availability of Matic, the Dutch youngster could be tasked by the manager to play the defensive midfield position tonight, if the vibe gotten from the Portuguese manager is anything to go by.

Ake, 19, is a midfielder with defensive qualities who was signed from Feyenoord in 2011 by Chelsea with the view of nurturing his immense prospects to an enviable height. However, he’s been on the fringes for the senior team of the London club, but a main player for the U-21s. He has been praised by keen watchers and commentators for his versatility and ability to play as a utility player. He is able to play at left back, centre back and the defensive midfield role. For the match tonight, it is very possible that Jose Mourinho deploys him in the defensive midfield role as a result of the injuries to Ramires and John Obi Mikel, while resting Nemanja Matic for the English Premier League encounter against Manchester United on Sunday26th October. The match against Maribor, though very important to Chelsea’s UEFA Champions’ League campaign, could be used to showcase and boost Ake’s confidence in a role he could own at Chelsea in the nearest future.

Chelsea won Sporting Lisbon in Portugal in their last group stage fixture this season, after a 1-1 draw against Schalke at Stamford Bridge in the opening fixture. A second win would brighten their chances of topping the group and though Jose Mourinho wouldn’t stake a victory on any ground, in any competition for another upcoming match, playing Ake and resting Matic may suggest the level of importance placed on the Slovenian Champions NK Maribor. To confirm this, Mourinho recently said concerning the match that: “I don’t have Manchester United in mind, I have Maribor in mind. I don’t rest players. We must play with what we have, with the best we have,’’ the Chelsea manager said.  However assuring that statement is to fans who wouldn’t want an excuse for failure to win this match, Mourinho also added: “When somebody is injured, it is an opportunity for another player.’’

Maribor by all means are no pushovers as they have remained unbeaten in their opening two matches against Sporting Lisbon and Schalke 04. Chelsea would be expected to grab the maximum 3 points playing at Stamford bridge but it wouldn’t be surprising if NK Maribor stages a very good challenge by taking home a point in this match, whether Jose Mourinho deploys Ake in the holding midfield role or not. Chelsea already are faced with an attacking dilemma between ageing and vastly experienced Didier Drogba and Loic Remy, the newly acquired forward from Queens Park Rangers.

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