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Sports News of Sunday, 4 December 2022


Super Eagles hopeful nominated for PFA award

Middlesbrough forward Chuba Akpom Middlesbrough forward Chuba Akpom

The English-born Nigerian striker was decisive in each of the matches he played in the Championship during the month under review

Middlesbrough forward Chuba Akpom has been nominated for the PFA Vertu Motors Fans’ Player of the Month Award for November.

Akpom enjoyed an outstanding month, netting three goals and providing an assist in four appearances for Michael Carrick’s side.

The 27-year-old attacker scored in three consecutive games against Hull City, Bristol City, and Blackpool, and he laid on the crucial match-winner in the closely-fought battle at Norwich City.

Akpom’s contribution helped Boro claim three wins and a draw in November. And the Arsenal academy product has seen his efforts rewarded with his nomination among the Championship’s best stars for the month.

The other nominees are Viktor Gyokeres (Coventry City), Ched Evans (Preston North End), Anel Ahmedhodzic (Sheffield United), Amad Diallo (Sunderland), and Kyle Bartley (West Bromwich Albion).

Michael Carrick’s impact
Chuba Akpom’s impressive run at Middlesbrough has coincided with the appointment of former England international Michael Carrick as Boro boss.

Carrick switched Akpom’s role from an outright striker to an attacking midfielder, and the former England youth international has thrived ever since.

In only 14 appearances, Akpom has already managed eight goals, and even Carrick is impressed with the striker’s attitude and output in recent weeks.

“He’s taken to the role really well,” Carrick said, as per Gazette Live (via Soccernet).

“Sometimes that bit of freshness, that little change, sometimes it can work. I think for the last two games the role suited him really nicely, and he’s a big part of the team for us playing in that position. That defensively just as much as offensively as well.

“I think defensively; it’s maybe a bit more of a shift than he might be used to, chasing around and supporting our midfield a little bit and filling that gap. He’s done great, and his attitude has been spot on.”

Akpom’s international future

Born in England to parents of Nigerian descent, Akpom is eligible to play for the Three Lions and the Super Eagles.

The former PAOK Thessaloniki FC ace represented England from the under-16 to the under-21 level, but he last played for the Europeans in 2016.

However, in September 2019, Akpom revealed his decision to represent Nigeria at the international level.

The striker is yet to receive a call-up to the Super Eagles, though.