After being utilised as a rotation option for most of the last two seasons, Nathan Ake was called into the first eleven for Manchester City's opener against West Ham and put in a solid performance, earning praise from his manager for his patience in waiting to gain an opportunity.
Ake has never been a regular starter in City's team, playing just 24 games over the previous two Premier League campaigns. However, his quality was evident to everybody who watched him in those appearances with the Dutchman being a reliable performer whenever he has been called upon.
The centre-back even put in a number of solid performances while playing out of position at left-back, reflecting his impressive versatility.
With Aymeric Laporte out until September with a knee injury, a space opened up at left-back and Guardiola opted to deploy Ake in the vacant position over John Stones. The 27-year-old made the most of his opportunity and put in a solid performance in City's win against The Hammers.
Speaking in his pre-Bournemouth press conference, his manager was questioned on whether he needed to reassure Ake that he was an important part of City's squad.
"Absolutely not,” the Spaniard replied, via Mancity.com. “The players know that I want everyone to be happy here. There are always rumours and offers in the summer transfer time. Maybe he had an offer."
Guardiola is aware no player is happy to consistently find themselves on the bench but praised Ake for his attitude despite his lack of minutes, saying: “But it is not because I am now happy with how Nathan is playing. Last season I was incredibly happy. You cannot imagine how nice that guy is.
“I always talk about how I like to work with the nice people. People I understand and you cannot believe how nice he is. Always I say in moments be patient because the calendar is crazy.
“And Nathan always waits his moment, always helps and that is why he is incredibly respected in the locker room.
“Of course, Nathan is sad when he doesn’t play… that’s normal.
“But in the moment of training and after that in the locker room, always he is exceptional."
Considering how well Ake played against The Irons, it would be no surprise if the Dutch centre-back retained his place in the team in The Cityzens' upcoming match against Bournemouth. The Sky Blues will be looking to earn another three points against the newly promoted side, with the match taking place at 3 pm this afternoon at the Etihad.
Read More Manchester City Coverage
- Manchester City's Chloe Kelly Scores Winner As England Clinch Women's Euros
- Manchester City's Bernardo Silva Is Moving Closer To Barcelona Move
- Pep Guardiola Confirms Aymeric Laporte Will Be Out Until September
- Manchester City Identify Lucas Paqueta As Bernardo Silva Replacement
- Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne: ‘I Understand What My Body And Mind Want’
- Stoke City Favourites To Sign Manchester City Striker Liam Delap On Loan