John Terry has revealed he asked Antonio Conte to leave him out of the Chelsea squad in his last season at the club in a bid to give Nathan Ake an opportunity to break into the first team.
Terry was reduced to limited appearances in the 2016-17 season, where Conte delivered the Premier League title, and was mainly used off the bench with David Luiz, Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta being preferred in a back three.
Ake, who was only 21 at the start of that season, was shipped out on loan to Bournemouth but returned to Chelsea in January.
John Terry won the Premier League under Antonio Conte in his last season at Chelsea
Terry opened up on his last season at Chelsea during an Instagram Q&A with Stephen Hendry
Former England international Terry rated the Dutchman highly and wanted to see him given more chances to develop at Chelsea and revealed he even told Conte to leave him out of the squad entirely to help boost Ake’s chances of playing upon returning from his loan at Bournemouth in January 2017.
Speaking on an Instagram Live Q&A with snooker legend Stephen Hendry, the now Aston Villa No 2 Terry said: ‘I went to see him around Christmas time, and 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.’
Chelsea legend Terry was limited to game time that season and was mostly used off the bench
Terry rated Nathan Ake (left) highly and wanted him to take his place on the bench
‘He was on the bench for about seven, eight or 10 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 done.’
Ake made four Premier League appearances in Terry’s last season as Chelsea went on to lift the trophy and played in the FA Cup semi-final, but was sold for £20million to Bournemouth that summer.
Despite being viewed as one of the club’s best youth prospects for years, Ake remained on the periphery and played just 17 times in total for Chelsea before his eventual exit.
Ake, who also had loan spells at Reading and Watford before joining Bournemouth in 2017, has since established himself as a solid Premier League defender on the south coast and recently attracted interest from Arsenal, Everton and Manchester City.
Ake ended up playing in the FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham in April 2017
Conte gave him some opportunities but sold him to Bournemouth for £20m in summer of 2017