Chuba Akpom, hailed as the 2022/23 Championship Player of the Season, revealed in an interview with Daily Mail that he faced numerous obstacles early in his career, to the point of contemplating quitting football.
During his time away from Arsenal on six loan spells in pursuit of regular first-team football, Akpom encountered setbacks that tested his resolve. Four of these short-term moves ended without him finding the back of the net, which significantly contributed to his mental development.
Akpom candidly shared the challenges he faced during this period, expressing uncertainty about where he would be playing or living. Nevertheless, he maintained a focused mindset, diligently working alongside Uche Ikpeazu to ensure he was prepared for whatever came next. Akpom remarked, “I kept my head down with Uche and worked hard so I was ready for whatever happened next. I had my bags packed.” Despite facing multiple moments of doubt and the temptation to give up, Akpom persevered, consistently putting in the effort and maintaining faith that things would ultimately fall into place. “There’s been many times when I’ve wanted to quit when things have been going wrong on loans or not getting in teams, I could have taken my foot off the gas. But I continued to work hard and I could see light at the end of the tunnel, and I knew things would work out well for me,” he revealed.
Akpom attributes his unwavering mentality as his greatest strength, emphasizing that he never once doubted himself. He firmly believed that through hard work, success would eventually come. “My biggest strength is my mentality. I never once doubted myself — work hard and it’ll work out,” he asserted.
Furthermore, Akpom acknowledged the pivotal role of Middlesbrough manager Michael Carrick in his career. Upon joining the club, Carrick immediately engaged in conversation with Akpom and, during the second training session, assigned him a new role that brought out the best in his abilities. Akpom expressed deep gratitude for Carrick’s decision, stating, “Carrick spoke to me straight away. In his second session, he put me in that new role. I’m so grateful he did that — it’s got the best out of me.” He went on to describe Carrick as a remarkable individual, highlighting the manager’s humility. Akpom firmly believes that Carrick’s influence played a significant role in his current form and success, even though the manager himself downplays his impact. “Michael is a top man. The gaffer is so humble… he would say he’s had nothing to do with my form, but I want to tell people he has been key. I can’t praise him enough for what he’s done for my career,” Akpom concluded.
In summary, Chuba Akpom’s football journey exemplifies resilience and determination in the face of setbacks. His unwavering mentality and continuous hard work have proven instrumental in his rise to success. Moreover, the impact of Michael Carrick, both in terms of guidance and positioning, has played a crucial role in shaping Akpom’s career trajectory.