Watford defender Nathan Ake says it was Quique Sanchez Flores's faith in young players that convinced him to leave Chelsea for a season at Vicarage Road. Ake, 20, signed a new five-year contract with the Premier League champions before joining the newly promoted club on a season-long loan deal on Friday 14 August.
Despite questions over Chelsea's strength in depth in defence, the Netherlands Under-21 international will spend the season working under Flores, a former Valencia, Benfica and Atletico Madrid manager. Ake says the combination of the Spaniard's impressive CV and his track record working with young players made the move an easy decision for him.
"He's a big manager and he has managed big clubs," Ake told the club's website. "He told me he had young players when he was at other clubs, like Koke at Atletico Madrid, and he said age doesn't matter to him, he'll play you if you're ready. I was really impressed with him, we had a good chat and he made me feel welcome straight away. I'm really excited because I've been waiting for this, to get on loan and play a lot of games, and Watford have given me this opportunity."
Ake, who spent the second half of last season with Reading in the Championship, has already been utilised in a number of positions despite his tender years. He said: "I can play in midfield, left-back or centre-back. I'm a player who works really hard, a left-footed player who tries to play football on the ground. But I can also do the other side of the game like defending, and I just try to help the team really."
Ake becomes the second player to join the Hornets on loan this season alongside former West Ham United midfielder Alessandro Diamanti, who arrives from Chinese Super League side Guangzhou Evergrande.