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“He spoke to me as a human being”

“He spoke to me as a human being”

Ajax coach reveals why Akpom has struggled to pin a starting shirt

Akpom has been amazing for Ajax in the last two games, and he attributes his revival to Van’t Schip’s great work

Nigeria forward Chuba Akpom has revealed that new Ajax coach Van’t Schip’s great man-management skills has spurred his revival at the club, Soccernet reports.

After a successful campaign that saw him register 28 goals in 38 Championship games for Middlesbrough, Akpom joined Ajax in a deal worth €14million.

The 28-year-old forward was handed the legendary number 10 jersey, a testament to how highly the club viewed him.

However, Akpom struggled to find his feet at the club. Ajax were not winning games, but former coach Maurice Steijn did not give him minutes. Eventually, Steijn was sacked, and Schip took over last week.

In Schip’s first game against Volendam, he introduced Akpom into the game, and the Nigerian reciprocated with a goal in their 2-0 win.

Then, on Sunday, against Heerenveen, the former Arsenal man got off the bench to score a brace and seal a 4-1 win for Ajax.

Speaking after the game, Akpom revealed that Schip’s show of care has catalysed his adjustment to life in Ajax, and that has been evident on the pitch.

“It was a terrible first two months here if I am being honest,” Akpom said per AFC Ajax.

“The new manager has made me feel more at home than I have ever felt since arriving. We are footballers, we are human beings first.

“He spoke to me as a human being, not as a footballer. Ever since the new manager arrived, I feel much lighter, back to myself.”

Ajax currently sit 11th in the Eredivisie, 22 points adrift of leaders PSV. Akpom would look to continue his super form and eventually break into the first team.

Kelvin Omachonu

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