Nedum Onuoha: Ake can put best foot forward this season

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Manchester City Official

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Nedum Onuoha believes Nathan Ake can bounce back from his injury disrupted debut season to recapture his best form for Manchester City in 2021-22.

A hamstring problem restricted the Dutch defender to just 13 appearances after his arrival from Bournemouth last summer, though he recovered towards the end of the campaign to earn a place in the Netherlands EURO 2020 squad.

Ake played 45-minutes in the 2-0 friendly win over Preston North End, after which he said he will be doing everything he can to ensure he is in top shape for the new season and Onuoha feels City will see the best of the 26-year-old if he can put together a run of games.

“I think he is a very good player,” said the former City defender on Matchday Live.

“For this year I think health is going to be huge – he did play a good number of games last season – but health is going to be huge because then he can put his best foot forward.

“I think he is one of those players when he is doing so, he is very, very good and for City having that strength in depth - I think that whoever plays back there it makes no difference - and that is a great spot to potentially be in.

“Touch wood he can have a better go this year and show what he is about.”

Ake and the rest of the senior players were withdrawn at half-time against Preston, as Pep Guardiola fielded what was largely an Academy XI after the break.

Sam Edozie’s strike was enough to ‘win’ the second half as the youngsters impressed against the Championship side.

Onuoha felt there were periods where the opposition’s experience told but says the City players deserved credit, particularly for how they handled the physical challenge posed by the Lilywhites.

“They tried to play the game the right way, the City way,” he added.

“At certain parts you could see the Preston players were maybe half a step ahead but the City guys took them to task, they gave it their all, they competed and they won the second half 1-0. Credit to them.

“There were some players who obviously are physical, like [Philippe] Sandler, but some of the players further up the field, you could see they haven’t quite developed physically yet to the level where they will be throughout their careers.

“They still put themselves about and that’s key.

“You can do well in your age group but when you get to the first team it is men’s football and for some of those guys, even though they aren’t quite there physically, they can still throw people around.

“You love to see that.”

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