Aké praised by Koeman, cherished by Guardiola: ‘Example for everyone’

Aké praised by Koeman, cherished by Guardiola: ‘Example for everyone’

NOS Football

Pep Guardiola called Ronald Koeman on his birthday last Tuesday. To congratulate the Oranje national team coach on his 60th birthday, of course, but also to ask him if he would pay a little attention to Nathan Aké this international period.

One of the best coaches in the world, of one of the best teams on earth, adding to how important the 28-year-old Dutch left-back is for Manchester City. That impressed Koeman.

Koeman praises Aké as Guardiola’s fixture at City: ‘Example for everyone’

Koeman: “He plays in a team that is an example of how soccer can and should be played. And when you become a regular in that…” Aké has slowly but surely become a staple in the starting lineup since his move to City’s star-studded squad in 2020.


On his birthday, Koeman’s admiration for Aké increased a bit more. “Guardiola called me and right after congratulating me he said, ‘Take care with Nathan, huh.’ That says something, when you hold your own and develop so well at that level with a manager like that. I think that’s an example for everyone.”

Aké was perhaps the only bright spot with the Orange during the hopeless defeat in and against France (4-0). Aké himself doesn’t see it that way. “No, when you lose 4-0 there are not many bright spots, especially as a defender. You look at what you can do better, personally and as a team.”

Aké: “After the game, of course hard things are said. We know full well that it wasn’t good enough from everyone.” But the hangover from that beating has since been dealt with. “Certainly, that goes pretty fast. Especially since we have another game on Monday. What’s done is done.”

Still, even Aké cannot deny that he is enjoying an excellent season in England. “The season is going well. I’m getting a lot of confidence from the coach. The whole team is going well and then you play well yourself.”

Shoulder pat Koeman

So Aké also traveled to Orange with confidence. “It’s especially nice to come to Zeist in good form,” he said. Moreover, the bond with Koeman is good. “We have worked together before and there is a good connection.”

This was evident at the press conference a day before the European Championship qualifier with Gibraltar. “I think it is incredibly good and clever that he has developed so much. What we want, he does,” the national coach said. Aké responded with a humble smile, “Thank you.” Koeman then patted him on the back.

Kayleigh Williams