NATHAN Ake claimed his confidence had been boosted by improved Premier League displays and a return to the Netherlands international set-up.

The 22-year-old also insisted the entire Cherries squad was “feeling better” having picked up four points from their past three league fixtures.

In an interview with the Daily Echo following Cherries’ 3-0 humbling at Arsenal last month, the former Chelsea man claimed he was “frustrated” and “disappointed” by his individual form.

Coupled with an injury which forced him to withdraw from the previous Dutch squad, Ake was left to endure a difficult spell at the beginning of September.

But having helped his club side to their first clean sheet in the league against Leicester City on Saturday, the talented Dutchman believes he is in a more positive frame of mind.

He told the Daily Echo: “I am feeling good now.

“I feel more confident and I think you can see that from the team as well.

“The whole team is feeling better from the past three games, having got four points.

“We could have won the past two games but we are growing in confidence and playing better.

“We just need to turn it into more points now.”

Reflecting on the stalemate with the Foxes, Ake said: “It’s your first aim as a defender – you always want to get a clean sheet.

“We needed to score the chances but what changed was we defended really well in difficult situations at times.

“Sometimes, when we have been searching for a goal, we have conceded. This time I think we defended really well.”

Ake made his senior debut for the Netherlands earlier this year in a 2-1 friendly win over Morocco. The former Feyenoord youngster then came off the bench in his country’s 5-0 World Cup qualifying victory over Luxembourg in June – giving him the second of his two international caps.

Despite being selected by the national squad for qualifiers against France and Bulgaria, an ankle problem picked up in Cherries’ 2-1 defeat to Manchester City kept Ake out previously.

But having been named in Dick Advocaat’s party for their crucial upcoming clashes against Belarus and Sweden this time round, Ake is eager to impress if given the opportunity.

He said: “I was speaking to Holland when I was injured and it was the best choice not to go.

“I just tried to do my best at Bournemouth to get back in the squad and they have picked me, so I am very happy.

“It’s a big honour to go for your country.”

The Netherlands are currently third in Group A in their bid to make it to the finals in Russia – four points adrift of leaders France and three behind second-placed Sweden.

They face Belarus at the Borisov Arena on Saturday, before hosting Sweden on Tuesday.