Name: Nathan Ake
Chelsea aren't well-known for blooding youngsters, so when an 18-year-old defender is brought into their first-team squad, one should sit up and take notice.
Dutch defender Nathan Ake was signed from Feyenoord back in 2011 and has impressed in the Blues' youth and reserve teams, before finally stepping up to make his Premier League debut in December 2012 against Norwich. He is currently the captain of the club's under-18's who have made it to the FA Youth Cup final, with Ake receiving great praise along the way.
The centre-back's eye-catching hair has brought comparisons with David Luiz (and Ruud Gullit), but the youngster isn't as technically gifted as the Brazilian. However, like his older colleague, Ake can operate in both central midfield and at the heart of the defence, and has looked equally adept wherever he has been thrust into action, which has included moments at left-back. Ake is capable of bringing the ball out from deep, and has the ability to pick an incisive pass.
Rafa Benitez has a lot of faith in Ake, who he started in Chelsea's crucial Europa League quarter final tie against Rubin Kazan, and despite the Spaniard's likely departure from Stamford Bridge, the future looks incredibly bright for the young Dutchman.
– Nathan Ake speaking to the London Evening Standard
Things have changed quickly, I didn’t expect to be in the first team already. I can’t believe it but I will have to keep working to stay here.
What Twitter says:
"John Terry, Paulo Ferreira and David Luiz have all been a great help. They talk to me a lot" (Nathan Ake)
RB on Nathan Ake: 'You can see his quality in training and games and I think he has a great future.' #CFC
Happy to pass my driving test last week independent now:)