DETERMINED Nathan Ake wants to find his voice and take on a leadership role in the heart of Cherries’ defence.

At 24, the Dutch international was the oldest of the three central defenders selected by boss Eddie Howe for last Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester City at Vitality Stadium.

Ake’s Premier League experience dwarfs that of Chris Mepham, 21, and Jack Simpson, 22, who also started against Pep Guardiola’s side.

And the former Chelsea star, named Cherries’ player of the month for February, revealed he had this season been learning from the leadership examples set by Steve Cook and Simon Francis.

Put to him that supporters may not view him as a vocal defender, Ake told the Daily Echo: “Maybe people see me as a calm person but I have spoken to the gaffer a few times and we are trying to bring that out of me.

“It’s getting better and I’m still learning.

“I always used to watch Steve and Franno talk every day and I have picked up on that a bit this season.

“I am trying to communicate more and am trying to help team-mates more. It’s a great learning curve for me, to make sure everyone is doing all right.”

No Cherries player has racked up more game time in the top flight than Ake this season, the ex-Feyenoord youngster having missed just eight minutes of league action.

Ake will hope to feature when Cherries on Saturday take on basement side Huddersfield Town at John Smith’s Stadium.

“The team has got its confidence back after the Manchester City performance,” he said.

“It was much more solid and it felt as if everyone was more together and wanted to work for each other.

“That’s what you need as a base. If we defend like that against Huddersfield, I’m sure we will create chances as well.

“But they are a very good team who play good football.

“They are losing games but you cannot go anywhere thinking you are going to win. Last season we lost 4-1 there, so we have got something to prove.

“Of course, you want to do better than last time but we know it’s a new season and a new game and everything is different.”

Cherries are six points short of the 40-point mark which is often cited as the marker for survival in the Premier League era.

Ake continued: “We can never get complacent, even if we get to 40 points, even if we are safe.

“We always want to do better than we did the previous season.

“We still have a bit to go. The next two games before the international break are huge. We have to go to Huddersfield with the right mentality and make sure we get the points.

“We had a great start to the season but were shaky in the middle and now it’s up to us to make sure we finish the season well.”