Nathan Ake has revealed he was left mentally “broken” after failing to break into Chelsea’s first team under Jose Mourinho.
The Bournemouth centre-back moved to Stamford Bridge from Feyenoord as a 16-year-old in 2011 and featured six times in the latter half of the 2012-13 season with Rafael Benitez in charge at Stamford Bridge.
However, Mourinho returned for his second spell at the club that summer and the Netherlands defender made played once the following season, before eventually leaving permanently for Bournemouth in 2017 having made only seven Premier League appearances for Chelsea.
Ake told the Telegraph: “I went to the first team at Chelsea and played under Rafa Benitez and I always thought, ‘why is everyone saying setbacks are coming because everything is going up, up, up?’
“The season after Benitez left I thought, ‘this is going to be my season’.
“Then Jose Mourinho came and, without training, I got dropped into the second team. That was one of the toughest things for me, mentally. I was quite broken.
“Everything was going great, I played a few games, I was young player of the year and then I was in the reserves again.”
Ake went out on loans to Watford and Reading, before convincing Eddie Howe of his ability with a loan spell at Bournemouth during the first half of the 2016-17 season.
The south coast club signed Ake permanently for £20m, and he has been a regular fixture in their starting line-up since.