The 17-year-old English player Chuba Akpom is one of the brightest young talents to emerge into the world of football this year and many who have seen him play this season agree that the starlet is years ahead of his time in terms of ability.
He has not only broke into Arsenal’s U21 and reserve squad he has also showed off his talents for England under 19s and 21s as well as the Next Gen Series.
A product of Arsenal’s Youth Academy he joined them at the age of 14 and worked his way into the under 18s at the tender age of 15 and has continued progressing to the reserves which is where he is playing now. He signed his first professional contract with Arsenal last October on his 17th Birthday and Wenger included him in his first team Champions League squad for the Olympiakos trip a few days after (the youngster made the bench.)
At 6ft tall and with a solid build, Akpom is a fierce physical presence in any team and has the ability to play anywhere along the front line as well as playing as a winger, which only adds to his appeal as a player. He is described as an immense person to have on the pitch and not only does he score and assist plenty of goals with the finish of a player in their 20s, he is able to run through defenders as if they aren’t there and he skilfully manoeuvres his way up and down the pitch. He’s also excellent in the box and can put away a penalty with confidence. Akpom excels at aerial challenges and despite his height and build he possesses pace, stamina and the ability to accurately control a ball, making him a gifted all round player.
He is a player with many strengths but his talent for his age and pace is what separates him from all the rest. Akpom plays like he has been playing football all his life, the way he moves around the football pitch is phenomenal and he puts his peers to shame, whatever their age. His stamina and pace provide huge contribution to the team especially in the latter stages of games when he is still able to out run everyone when they are tiring. The only thing that could be detrimental in the future is if he becomes too complacent in his game which often happens with young talent when they are introduced early on in their career but I think Akpom has the ability to rise above this and be consistent.
Akpom has had the ideal start to his football career playing as a schoolboy for Arsenal’s youth team. Steve Bould regularly played him last season enabling him to improve his game and gain experience and it also gave him the opportunity to form a very good partnership with Serge Gnabry.
Arsenal describes him as tall and creative and has often spoken highly of the youngster.
“He has personality [and] he has quality,” Wenger said, adding that he believes he could be playing in the first team very soon. Not only has he broke into Arsenal’s youth and reserve team at a very young age but he has also made appearances for England U19s and U21s at the age of just 17.
He has been a key player in Arsenal’s Next Gen series and scored twice in his debut against Marseille. Racking up a total of 14 goals in four appearances it is clear that he is a striker to watch and I expect we will see a lot more of Chuba Akpom in the near future.