JOHN TERRY has revealed he told Chelsea boss Antonio Conte to leave him out of the squad for entirety of his final season – in order to give Nathan Ake a chance.
JT was itching to see the Dutch youngster, 21 at the start of the 2016-17 campaign, given a chance at Stamford Bridge, even if it meant sacrificing his own minutes.
Speaking with snooker legend Stephen Hendry on an Instagram Live Q&A, Terry revealed he told Conte to give Ake the senior match-day experience, even if it was watching from the bench.
But Ake only played four times all season and was sold to Bournemouth in the summer after Terry’s retirement, having spent the first half of the season on loan on the South Coast.
Chelsea did go on to win the Premier League that season, with a back-three of Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz and Gary Cahill.
Looking back at his final season in West London, Terry said: “I went to see [Conte] around Christmas time.
“I was like ‘gaffer, listen you’re putting me on the bench and we’ve got Nathan Ake’, who for me was an unbelievably talented young player.
“I said ‘put him on the bench because the chances of him coming on are really slim, it’s going to be great experience for him’.
“‘He was on the bench for about seven, eight or ten games, and he ended up playing against Spurs in the [FA Cup] semi-final that year.
“And it was just little stuff like that. I’m not sure players would have done what I did.”
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Ake ultimately played just four times for Chelsea in 2016-17, including the FA Cup semi-final win over Tottenham.
But he was sold to Bournemouth for £20million as Terry quit the club to join Aston Villa, where he is now assistant manager.
Ake, now 25, has gone on to receive international recognition with Holland and signed for Manchester City last August in a £40million deal.