Ake backs 'fantastic' De Jong to shine at Barcelona after dominating England

Frenkie de Jong Netherlands 2019
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The Bournemouth defender believes his international team-mate will impress at Camp Nou when he joins later in the summer

Nathan Ake has backed his Netherlands international team-mate Frenkie de Jong to shine at Barcelona, describing him as a "fantastic player".

Ake was talking ahead of the Nations League final where the Dutch will take on Portugal, after they defeated England 3-1 in Thursday’s semi-final.

De Jong dominated the midfield area in the clash with the Three Lions and the Bournemouth centre-back believes the 21-year-old can do the same when he joins the Liga champions next season.

"Every game [De Jong] plays he is so good on the ball, he wants the ball everywhere and he is technically so good that it is difficult to get the ball off him. He is a fantastic player," Ake told Goal.

"Yeah, I think he’ll [do well at Barca]. 100 per cent. The way he plays, especially the way Barca plays, I think they suit each other really well.

"But he’s been doing this at Ajax as well. He’s very good."

Errors dominated the semi-final with the Dutch punishing two mistakes, by John Stones and Ross Barkley, in extra-time to secure the win.

England had taken the lead after Matthijs de Ligt gave away a penalty by fouling Marcus Rashford, after losing possession to the striker. The Manchester United forward put away the spot-kick although De Ligt would later equalise for his country to force extra-time.

Ake said that De Ligt’s goal was testament to his mental strength and that the Netherlands had planned to unsettle England with their pressing.

"For a 19-year-old [De Ligt’s] so mentally strong and I think you could see that straight away.

"The first action after [the penalty incident], he dribbles with the ball again no problem. I think everyone was happy he scored.

"Maybe [England were tired.] I don’t know what happened. But it was also good pressure from us.

"We know how they like to play, so we tried to keep them on one side and tried to press them, so maybe that’s what put them off as well."

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Ake also praised Memphis Depay’s role as the Lyon man assisted both of the goals in the extra-time period.

"He’s been very good for us over the last years. He’s scored so many goals and against England, two assists again.

"He’s always working so hard for the team and you could see that again."