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First team

Francis - Ake up there with Europe's best

Nathan Ake celebrates with Steve Cook and Simon Francis in the club's third kit.

AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

AFC Bournemouth captain Simon Francis believes the best is yet to come from fellow defender Nathan Ake.

The Netherlands international has impressed for the duration of the season and after completing a permanent transfer from Chelsea last summer.

Ake has collected seven of the nine available Michael Matthews Player of the Month awards so far this season, as well as the Supporters' Player of the Season and Players' Player of the Season at the club's recent Player Awards Evening.

And, as the season reaches its climax this coming Sunday, Francis reserved special praise for team-mate Ake.

"In terms of who has impressed me the most this season, you'd of course have to go with Nathan Ake," he said.

"I've been massively impressed with him over the last year or so, going back to when he first joined us on loan last season.

"He's fitted in great with the group and he has been a real asset for us all season.

"Touch wood, we're able to keep hold of him for a number of years, but for me he is right up there with the best around right now. He could go on and play at the very highest level, and I don't just think in England, but abroad for one of Europe's top clubs.

"He's so assured on the ball and he has every single attribute you would want in a modern-day defender."

He is right up there with the best around right now.

Simon Francis

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