Former Middlesbrough centre-back Sol Bamba has praised the club’s striker Chuba Akpom after he finished top scorer in the Championship last season with his goals almost firing back them back to the Premier League.

Bamba is delighted to see his friend Chuba Akpom enjoy such a remarkable campaign.

Akpom was signed by Neil Warnock but things didn’t work out and he went out on loan to PAOK in the 2021/22 season.

He looked destined for the exit door last summer, but with Boro unable to land the striker targets they were chasing, was given a surprise lifeline under Chris Wilder.

But it was after Carrick’s arrival that Akpom truly kicked on, going on to win the Championship’s Golden Boot and Player of the Year award.

Bamba was at Boro when things weren’t going to plan for Akpom and remembers sitting down and having an honest chat with the striker when he was out of favour and pondering the next step in his career.

“I was there when Chuba was struggling and we had a chat and I told him he needed to play,” said Bamba.

“He was out of favour at the time and I said to him, wherever you go, you have to play because that is what will give you confidence. That’s when he went to Greece and did very well.

“You have to be honest, the way Warnock wanted him to play, it wasn’t working and he was the first to say at that time he wasn’t up to speed. You can argue that was the style of play the gaffer wanted to play. Maybe. He (Warnock) would probably say he couldn’t get a tune out of him. Chuba would be the first to admit he wasn’t at it at that time.

“You have to give huge credit to Chuba and Michael for coming back and being the top scorer in the league. Mentally he has always been strong and has always had a smile on his face and worked hard and believed in his ability. Credit to him for coming back as strong as he did.”

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