Middlesbrough-owned Coburn has opened up about Akpom’s dedication over the summer as he attempted to return to the pitch better than ever.
Both Coburn and Akpom were out of action at the beginning of the season and went through rehabilitation together.
Despite a disappointing two years at the club, Akpom was given a chance by former boss Chris Wilder, and after six weeks out of action early in the campaign, he has been a revelation under Michael Carrick, scoring 28 goals so far.
According to Coburn, the hard work that Akpom put in over the summer paid off.
Regarding Akpom’s dedication, Coburn said, “He was in the gym every day. I knew he was going to have a good season. Obviously, I didn’t expect him to have this good of a season, but he’s a top, top player, and hopefully he gets over the 30 goals mark.”
Coburn also explained that Boro’s players always knew what Akpom was capable of, but it just wasn’t clicking for him under the previous manager. “I think the style of play, Warnock compared to Carrick’s, is different, and now it’s just clicked for Chuba,” he said.
With one game remaining in the regular season against Coventry, Akpom is on course to win the Championship’s golden boot award. The 27-year-old has already been named the Championship Player of the Season. It’s a remarkable achievement for a player who looked destined for the exit door at the club before the season began.
Akpom’s dedication to his fitness and commitment to improving his game has been the key to his success this season.
As his teammate Coburn says, “He worked so hard to try and get back as quickly as possible.” And that hard work has paid off in spades, as Akpom has become one of the most prolific strikers in the Championship this season.