Why Akpom struggles to pin a starting shirt, Ajax coach reveals
Ajax coach Van’t Schip has revealed that Nigerian attacker Chuba Akpom has failed to join down a shirt at the club because he is yet to adjust to life in the Netherlands.
Akpom was the best player in the English Championship last season, registering 28 goals in 38 appearances for Middlesbrough to help them to the playoff spots.
Following his impressive campaign, he was linked with a transfer to other top clubs, but he eventually joined Ajax in a deal worth €14million.
The 28-year-old was handed the iconic number 10 jersey, which clearly meant that the club had high hopes for him.
However, Akpom has struggled to pin down a starting shirt at Ajax. Surprisingly, he has had to start from the bench in nine of Ajax’s last ten games in all competitions. And he failed to make a case for himself as he has not contributed to any goal.
Nonetheless, he eventually came good for the Godenzonen on Thursday, scoring the second goal in their 2-0 victory over Volendam. Akpom got off the bench in the 78th minute, and eleven minutes later, he rose highest to head a cross in and secure the win for his side.
Ajax interim boss Schip was full of praise for the former Akpom, and he explained why the Nigerian had struggled to make an impact at the club.
“I have seen in training that Chuba Akpom is an excellent finisher and that he’s very good at headers,” Schip said after the game per AFC Ajax.
“He is a true professional. I spoke with him, and he was very open to me. He told me that it hasn’t been easy for him since he arrived here.
“He had to stay in a hotel, without his family. But that he is now feeling more settled and that this feels like a new start.”
Akpom would hope that his performance on Thursday would buy him a place in the starting lineup when Ajax play Heerenveen this weekend.