The Nigerian striker failed to get into his stride in his first season, but he has picked up and is firing on all cylinders
Akpom joined Middlesbrough from Greek giants PAOK in 2020, but he failed to hit the ground running. The 27-year-old striker scored just five goals in 40 appearances.
Following his poor campaign, Boro sent him on a season-long loan to PAOK his former club. In Greece, he started showing glimpses of his old self.
However, his numbers were still paltry as he finished the campaign with 11 goals in 52 games.
There were talks that Middlesbrough could let the former Arsenal man leave last summer. But they decided to keep faith in him.
Akpom has repaid that faith, as he has been amazing in attack this season, especially since Michael Carrick became the coach.
The Nigerian star has scored 21 goals in 28 Championship appearances.
In fact, he is set to beat Bernie Slaven’s record for the highest goals in a league campaign(21). And it is just amazing the improvement that has taken place within the space of two seasons.
Akpom admits that he had some struggles and distractions when he just arrived at Boro.
“I probably did find it hard because I’d just had a newborn son at the time as well,” Akpom told Gazette live.
“It was quite difficult for me in my first season. I don’t think the playing style suited the way I play and, in truth, I wasn’t the right match for that squad.
“With all that in mind, I just probably wasn’t myself. There were things going on behind the scenes which people won’t know about.
“It just didn’t happen, and that can happen sometimes with players. It might take a while to settle or whatnot.
“I did think my time at the club was over. But I truly believe everything happens for a reason, and the past is the past.
“This season I just feel completely myself, and I think everybody is starting to see the player that I am and how I do play and my strengths, so I’m glad about that. I’ve never consistently played like this before in my career and I feel great for it.”
Akpom’s goals have helped Boro to third place in the Championship. They are seven points behind second-placed Sheffield United.
Middlesbrough would hope that he keeps firing and helps them to one of the two automatic Premier League promotion spots.