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“I just had to tell him” — Nathan Ake reveals touching human side of Pep Guardiola



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Nathan Ake has hailed Pep Guardiola’s impact on his personal life, citing the Manchester City manager’s handling of his father passing away in 2021.

Ake has come on leaps and bounds at Manchester City after signing for the Etihad club from Bournemouth for a reported fee of £40 million back in 2020. The Dutchman played a key role in the Treble triumph of 2023, despite admittedly not playing his best when joining the club.

But according to the defender, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has played a major role in his resurgence on the pitch to become one of the world’s premier defenders and become a regular with his national team.

In a recent interview with the Mirror, Nathan Ake cited Pep Guardiola’s immense handling of his father’s passing in 2021, shortly before the defender kicked into gear in the Manchester City shirt.

“I am grateful to Pep for all he means to me on and off the pitch,” Nathan Ake said. When my father passed away two years ago, he was fantastic for me. If I needed things or if I wanted time off, I just had to tell him. He gave me all the time and space I needed.”

Nathan Ake claims his father’s passing was a turning point in his Manchester City career, and that manager Pep Guardiola played a key role in guiding the Netherlands international back into form.

Ake continued, “Before my father passed away, things at City were not perfect for me. After he was gone, everything went up in an upward trend. I got a starting spot at City, we won everything there was to win, and I became a regular in the Dutch national team.

“I think my dad had something to do with all of it. In my first season at City, Pep was great for me. I didn’t perform as I should have. I was not quite myself. Guardiola could also have said ‘this is not really my player’ but he didn’t.

“He came to me and said ‘keep working hard, next year is a new season.’ He kept believing in me and always told me that I would become important for him.”

Unfortunately for Ake however, he has seen Josko Gvardiol dislodge him from his spot on the left defensive flank for the time being. But with fixtures coming thick and fast in the near future, Pep Guardiola will surely use the full extent of his squad.

Up next for Manchester City is a crucial Premier League showdown with second place Liverpool, who sit just one point behind the Blues heading into the weekend’s contest at the Etihad Stadium.