NATHAN AKE: Outstanding debut but overshadowed.

What a full first team debut by Nathan Ake at Middlesborough last night. I feel guilty this morning because as you all know Rafa Benitez g...

What a full first team debut by Nathan Ake at Middlesborough last night. I feel guilty this morning because as you all know Rafa Benitez grabbed the headlines with his post match rant and hardly anyone focused on this brilliant performance by Ake. He was head and shoulders above the rest by a mile.

It was a surprise to see his name on the team sheet to start the game next to Ramires but, given the chance, he grabbed it and took it with both hands.

Playing in one of the pivot positions in midfield his role is to sit and protect the defence, to win the ball back and to give it early and that's exactly what he did. Keeping it nice and simple he was knocking the ball about with ease and I can only remember one or two instances where he gave the ball away.

In addition to his use of the ball, Ake wasn't afraid to get stuck in and to put himself about which was also encouraging.

In what could have been a difficult introduction to the first team away at Boro, on a difficult pitch with the pressure on Chelsea to get a result, Ake was outstanding and played an instrumental part of our success last night.

Carefree & KTBFFH

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