Chuba Akpom knows he needs to fight to get back into the PAOK starting lineup if he wants a chance to play for the Nigeria national team.
Arsenal academy graduate Chuba Akpom started his international career in the England youth ranks. He made it up to the u21s, scoring three goals in five games, but the journey ended there.
Recently, Akpom confirmed his desire to play for the Nigeria national team instead. His parents came from the country, and he signed the documents to switch his allegiance in 2019. Now, he knows he needs to prove himself to get in the team.
“I just pledged my international allegiance to Nigeria and it definitely motives me to try and press and play every game for my club and help the team as much as possible to get in the (Nigeria) national team because that’s how I’m going to do it,” Akpom said.
“Firstly, I have to fight for my club to get on that team. It’s not going to be easy because there are many young players. I’m up to the challenge and I hope that I would be selected soon. I’m ready to help the national team.”
The problem is that the 24-year-old striker isn’t starting too often for his club right now. This season, he’s up to 11 starts in all competitions, only five in 20 league games.
Given the restrictions on his game time, scoring six goals and assisting three is a good record. For some reason, it’s not really translating into more starts though.
Akpom has either scored, assisted or both in every domestic game he’s played 90 minutes in, but that’s only five games. He knows he needs to play more to make it into the Nigeria team.
Things certainly started well in his first season in Greece. Despite similar limits on game time, Akpom won the league and cup double. The former Gunner completed an unbeaten league season and scored an overhead kick to win the cup final.
A few more goals like that and maybe Gernot Rohr will give him a call-up.