The Arsenal academy product was the man of the match for Boro at the weekend in the entertaining draw against Sheffield United
Middlesbrough manager Chris Wilder has confessed that he has been left impressed by the attitude, quality, and brilliance of striker Chuba Akpom.
Wilder has equally made a u-turn regarding the transfer of Akpom.
The English football manager was previously undecided regarding the future of the former Arsenal star.
At the start of preseason, Wilder had deemed Akpom surplus to requirement at the Riverside Stadium. The forward spent last season on loan in Greece.
But no club has stepped forward with a concrete bid for the Super Eagles hopeful all summer.
Akpom was, however, not deterred by the situation, and he continued to put in the hard work in training.
Even Wilder praised the younger man’s mentality and aptitude a few weeks ago, saying, “Chuba’s attitude has been good, so he’s joined the group for the last couple of days. There’s no downside for him coming on, running about, and playing a part.”
However, the whole setup appeared like a forced union, with Wilder not seemingly bothered should the former England youth international left for greener pastures.
Wilder, at the time, said, “He’s contracted to the football club. He understands where we’re at, and I understand where he’s at. We’ll just take it day by day and then go from there.”
What has changed for Akpom?
A lot has changed in three weeks.
After starting in the Championship’s matchday one draw at home to West Brom, Akpom came off the bench in the following defeat to QPR.
Wilder, however, named him again in the starting lineup at home to Sheffield United on Sunday, with the forward stealing the headlines.
Akpom struck either side of halftime to help Boro earn a point in the 2-2 draw with the visitors.
And after Akpom’s brilliant brace, Wilder is certain the 26-year-old will be with Middlesbrough throughout the 2022-23 season.
“It was a difficult situation for Chuba when I came in and a difficult situation for us,” Wilder told the Northern Echo.
“But he doesn’t need to worry about anything else now because he’s going to be part of us going forward.
“He was outstanding, and the attitude to his game was great.”
Akpom will look to keep up his scoring form when Middlesbrough trade tackles with Stoke City in a gameweek four clash on Wednesday.