Peseiro explains why red-hot Middlesbrough striker Akpom was omitted from Super Eagles rosterPublished: March 23, 2023
Jose Peseiro was on media duties on the eve of Nigeria's 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against Guinea-Bissau, and one of the questions he was asked during the pre-match press conference was to explain the exclusion of Chuba Akpom from his latest squad list.
The 27-year-old, a product of Arsenal's Hale End Academy ike his good friend Alex Iwobi, has yet to make his debut for the Super Eagles after pledging his international future to the three-time African champions.
The Middlesbrough talisman trained with the Super Eagles in London six years ago before a canceled friendly against Burkina Faso.
It is known that Akpom was angling for a call-up to the Super Eagles during the tenure of Gernot Rohr but he wasn't in the plans of the German football tactician as his form wasn't too great to attract the attention of Nigeria's coaching staff.
Things have changed for the better for Akpom, who is having unarguably his best season to date as a professional, netting an impressive 24 goals in 31 matches to lead the Championship scoring charts.
Peseiro claims that he is aware of Akpom but stressed that the former Arsenal youth teamer is not a player of interest at the moment.
Responding to the question about Akpom, Peseiro said : "Take one guy from our team and put him. Tell me now. Onuachu, you don't like Onuachu? I like all my players, I like them.
"I understand everybody because if I ask you to choose your twenty players, everybody can choose other players, it's normal.
"I am a coach, I choose in my mind the best players for our team but if I ask other guys or the 120 million people in Nigeria, they can choose others.
"It's my job, of course I know this player, checked this player. You know I visit many players, if I choose this one, in this moment I believe in them more than the others, for that I'm a coach. I have responsibility. For that if I lose cut my neck, not your neck.
"I appreciate, I know this player. My staff, for each weekend 48 matches at least, watching all the players. Yes, he's a good player, I agree but in this moment I don't have enough confidence in him. In the future, of course it's open for everybody".
No striker called up for the back-to-back games against Guinea-Bissau has scored more goals than Akpom this season.
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