It’s interview time once more on The Elastico and this time we have one of the English lower league’s rising stars – Boreham Wood striker Simeon Akinola.
Simeon’s story in itself is interesting. Born in Nigeria, the striker moved to Spain in his early years and excelled at the technically-demanding game of futsal, before moving onwards to football with the youth-team of AD Alcorcón.
Having made the move to London, Simeon found himself in the reserve ranks of Conference South side Boreham Wood, scoring 53 goals in one season for the second-string and earning a shot at the first-team.
Akinola, 19, is ambitious and sets himself high aspirations. The young forward believes he can make it to the very top. Read his story here on The Elastico…
You are currently on loan at Harrow Borough, how has that gone for you?
The loan-spell has gone pretty well. It has just been a shame about the injury set-backs, because in my first-game I was tackled really badly and it put me out for three months, which was most of the duration of the loan. I came back last week, but wasn’t able to play for very long; then this week I was given 25 minutes and I scored the winning goal, so it went pretty well.
Last season was an outstanding campaign for you, scoring 53 goals at reserve level. Have you been happy with your progress this year? Is there anything you feel has held you back?
As you say, last season was a great season, but this season hasn’t been as good. Although I have proven myself at Boreham Wood, I still haven’t been given a proper chance. I am looking forward to getting my chance and having a good record for them. This season has been good, but not as good as last season. I have scored in most of the games I have played in.
With just a few months of this season remaining, what do you hope to achieve?
What I am aiming for before the end of the season is to score in every game I play, so I can have a better record for this campaign. I am only a young player and I am looking to make the step up to a professional club.
You came through and developed as a footballer at Spanish second-tier side AD Alcorcón. How did that come about?
When I was three, my parents moved to Spain. I lived there for fourteen years. I started playing Futsal when I was nine and it was going well, so my team-mates recommended I move into proper football. My brother already played for them [AD Alcorcón] and so he referred me and I got a trial. At the trial I scored five goals, so they took me into the team. I was there four or five seasons and I really enjoyed it.
One of your big breaks as a youngster was to take part in the Spanish section of the Nike Premier Cup. How did that go?
It went well. We played three games, of which I played two and scored in one. The last game was against Atlético Madrid and we didn’t do badly, they won 1-0 and scored late on. If we had won that game we could have gone on to greater things. Atlético then played Real Madrid and won that game, then they beat Barcelona and went on to the international phase to play against Manchester United. We could have had a great experience, it is a shame.
At the moment you are playing in the Conference South. What level do you see yourself getting to?
The truth is, although it sounds ambitious, I believe I can play in the Premier League. I do have the skill and I proved it last season; without sounding arrogant, not everybody can score fifty goals in a season. I am pretty proud of that campaign. I know it sounds very over-the-top to target the Premier League, but it is possible.
What you therefore say is the strongest part of your game? Who has influenced your style of play?
It would have to be speed and dribbling technique, although I am a good finisher. In terms of attacking positioning it would be Samuel Eto’o who has influenced me most. I used to watch a lot of his games. In terms of dribbling it would be Cristiano Ronaldo. I admire him a lot, he is my favourite player and I try to emulate him.
You were born in Nigeria, grew up in Spain and now live in England. If the opportunity were
to come, which countries are you eligible to represent?
I believe I am eligible for Spain and Nigeria. Representing your country is a great achievement for any player and it is something I have definitely dreamed of. There is still a couple of years I can play at youth level.
You have these hopes and dreams for the coming years then. What are you doing to realise these ambitions?
I believe nothing comes easy in life. Obviously you need to put in the hard-work. I am just coming back from injury, but I try to put in an hour of training in the gym each day. English football is very physical, it is not like when I was playing Spanish football. There you see the likes of Xavi and Iniesta, it is very technical. I make sure I am in the gym regularly to build my muscles and increase my strength. I try to work on the technical side of my game also. I play as much 6-a-side as possible to improve my short passing and one-touch play. Training at Boreham Wood is also a good level, so that helps as well.