Hope Akpan

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Hope Akpan
Hope Akpan (cropped).png
Akpan warming up for Reading in 2013
Personal information
Full name Hope Ini I. Akpan[1]
Date of birth (1991-08-14) 14 August 1991 (age 26)
Place of birth Childwall, Liverpool, England
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Burton Albion
Number 21
Youth career
Everton
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2009–2011 Everton 0 (0)
2011 Hull City (loan) 2 (0)
2011–2013 Crawley Town 47 (5)
2013–2015 Reading 58 (1)
2015–2017 Blackburn Rovers 60 (4)
2017– Burton Albion 3 (0)
National team
2014– Nigeria 4 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 20:51, 15 August 2017 (UTC).
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 08:49, 30 March 2015 (UTC)

Hope Ini I. Akpan (born 14 August 1991) is a professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Burton Albion.

He came through the youth ranks at Everton, making his first-team debut in 2009. He later played for Hull City (on loan), Crawley Town, Reading and Blackburn Rovers.

Born in England, he represents Nigeria at international level.

Club career[edit]

Everton[edit]

Born in Childwall, Liverpool, Akpan began his career at Everton at eight years old[2] and after progressing through the ranks, he became a regular for the academy under coach Neil Dewsnip.[3] Then in 2008, Akpan was promoted to the club's reserve under coach Andy Holden and signed his first professional contract by the end of the year.[4]

Having been included in the first team as an unused substitute in the 2009-10 season,[5] Akpan made his competitive debut for Everton against BATE on 17 December 2009 in the UEFA Europa League.[6][7]

On 17 March 2011, Akpan moved on loan to Championship side Hull City for the remainder of the 2010–11 season.[8] Akpan made his Hull City debut, where he came on as a substitute for Corry Evans in the early first half substitute, and set up a goal for David Amoo, in a 1-1 draw against Queens Park Rangers on 25 April 2011.[9] He also made another appearance on the last game of the season, in a 3-0 loss against Bristol City.[10] Akpan went on to make appearances for Hull City and upon returning to his parent club, he was released by the club.[11]

Crawley Town[edit]

After leaving Everton, Akpan signed for newly promoted League Two club Crawley Town on a free transfer on 14 June 2011.[12][13]

Akpan scored on his Crawley Town debut but was sent-off in the last minutes for a second bookable offence, in a 3-2 win over AFC Wimbledon in the qualification round of the League Cup.[14] After serving a one match suspension, Akpan returned to the first team and set up a goal for Wes Thomas, in a 2-0 win over Macclesfield Town on 13 August 2011.[15] After being sidelined from the first team for a month,[16] he then scored again on 29 October 2011, in a 1-1 draw against Accrington Stanley.[17] Despite being left out of the squad for the second time this season,[18] Akpan, nevertheless, remained in the first team, forming a midfield partnership with Dannie Bulman[19] However, although the club were promoted to League One, Akpan ended the season when he was sent-off in the sixth minutes for lunging Jason Prior, who had to be substituted, in a 1-1 draw against AFC Wimbledon on 14 April 2012.[20] For this, he was suspended and never played for the remainder of the season.[21] At the end of the 2011-12 season, Akpan went on to make thirty-three appearances and scoring two times in all competitions.

Ahead of the 2012-13 season, Akpan was named by local newspaper Crawley Observer as a player to watch for the new season.[22] He started the 2012-13 season well when he set up two goals in the opening game of the season, with a 3-0 win over Scunthorpe United.[23] However, Apkan was then sent-off for a second bookable offence, in a 3-0 loss against Portsmouth on 9 September 2012.[24] He scored his first goal of the season on 25 September 2012, in a 3-2 loss against Swansea City in the third round of the League Cup[25] A week later, on 2 October 2012, Akpan scored again, in a 3-1 win over Bournemouth.[26] He scored two more goals by the end of October against Bury[27] and Hartlepool United.[28] However, Akpan was sent-off for the second time this season when he was sent-off for a straight red card, in a 1-1 draw against Oldham Athletic on 27 October 2012.[29] Following the match, Akpan was the recipient of online racist abuse.[30][31] For his sending off against Oldham Athletic, Akpan served a three-match suspension.[32] After this, Akpan then scored again on 15 December 2012, in a 2-1 win over Stevenage.[33] Akpan soon came under criticism from Manager Richie Barker for being suspended for the third time this season and was told to clean up his act if he was fulfill his target.[34] Despite this, Akpan went on to make twenty-seven appearances and scoring five times in all competitions.

Reading[edit]

Akpan signed for Premier League side Reading on a three-and-a-half-year contract on 8 January 2013.[35][36][37] He stated his desire to help his new club avoid relegation.[38]

Akpan made his Reading debut on 19 January 2013 against Newcastle United, where he came on as a second-half substitute, and set up a winning goal for Adam le Fondre, in a 2-1 win.[39] This was followed up on 30 January 2013 when he set up two goals again for le Fondre, in a 2-2 draw against Chelsea.[40] However, after a handful of first team appearance, Akpan suffered ankle injury during a match against Southampton on 6 April 2013.[41] Although he returned from injury, Akpan remained as an unused substitute for the rest of the season, as they were relegated from the Premier League.[42] At the end of the 2012-13 season, Akpan made nine appearances for the side.

In the 2013-14 season, Akpan found himself out of the first team at the start of the season, as he cited as "lacking fitness."[43] As a result, Akpan wanted to leave the club on loan to get first team football.[44] However, Manager Nigel Adkins warned Akpan that he would need to work hard to earn himself more playing time.[45] It wasn't until around January when Akpan regained his first team place following an injury of Danny Guthrie.[46] He scored his first goal for the club, in a 7-1 win over Bolton Wanderers on 18 January 2014.[47] Despite suffering from injury,[48] Akpan remained in the first team throughout the season and went on to make thirty-one appearances and scoring once in all competitions.[49]

In the 2014-15 season, Akpan continued to remain in the first team since the start of the season and formed a partnership with new signing Oliver Norwood.[50] The partnership continued until Akpan suffered a dislocated shoulder whilst on international duty with Nigeria and sidelined for three months.[51] After returning from injury,[52][53] He made his return from injury, coming on as a late substitute, in a 2-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on 7 February 2015.[54] However, since returning from injury, Akpan's first team opportunities was limited later in the season and was demoted on the substitute bench.[55] At the end of the 2014-15 season, Akpan went on to make twenty-four appearances in all competitions.

Blackburn Rovers[edit]

On 10 August 2015 he was linked with a transfer to Blackburn Rovers.[56] The following day, Akpan had his contract terminated by Reading, and completed a two-year contract to join Rovers.[57][58]

Akpan made his Blackburn Rovers debut, coming on as a second-half substitute, in a 1-1 draw against Huddersfield Town on 15 August 2015.[59] Akpan then scored his first goal for Blackburn in a 2–2 draw with Sheffield Wednesday on 28 November 2015.[60] Since making his debut for Blackburn Rovers, Akpan quickly established himself in the first team and has become the club's fan favourite.[61][62] His second goal then came on 12 January 2016, in a 1-1 draw against Queens Park Rangers.[63] After being sidelined with injury, he scored on his return on 1 March 2016, in a 3-1 win over Middlesbrough.[64] Despite being sidelined on three more occasions later in the season,[65][66][67] Akpan finished his first season, making thirty-seven appearances and scoring three times in all competitions.

In the 2016-17 season, Akpan started the season well when he scored in a 4-3 win over Crewe Alexandra in the second round of the EFL Cup.[68] However, Akpan found himself on the substitute bench for the number of matches, due to competitions.[69][70] Akpan then scored and set up another goal for the side, in a 3-2 loss against Ipswich Town on 14 January 2017.[71] However, Akpan was sent-off for pushing referee Scott Duncan after his goal was disallowed for handball, in a 2-1 loss against Sheffield Wednesday on 14 February 2017.[72] For his action, he was charged by the FA and subsequently served a four match suspension.[73][74] Following his return from suspension, Akpan mostly spent the rest of the season on the substitute bench, as the club were relegated to League One.[75] Despite further setback of suspension[76] and injury,[77] He was released by Blackburn at the end of the 2016–17 season.[78]

Burton Albion[edit]

Following his release by Blackburn, Akpan signed a one-year contract with Burton Albion on 18 July 2017.[79] Upon joining the club, he was given a number twenty-one shirt for the new season.[80]

Akpan made his Burton Albion debut, coming on as a second-half substitute for Marvin Sordell, in a 1-0 loss against Cardiff City in the opening game of the season.[81]

International career[edit]

Born to Nigerian parents in England, in 2013 Akpan declared his intention to represent Nigeria at international level.[82][83]

Akpan received his first call-up to the Nigerian national team in October 2014.[84] He made his debut later that month, on 15 October 2014, in an African Cup of Nations qualifying match.[85]

Career statistics[edit]

As of 15 August 2017[86]
Club Season League FA Cup League Cup Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Everton 2009–10 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0
2010–11 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0
Hull City (loan) 2010–11 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
Crawley Town 2011–12 26 1 4 0 2 1 1 0 33 2
2012–13 21 4 2 0 3 2 1 0 27 6
Total 47 5 6 0 5 3 2 0 60 8
Reading 2012–13 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 9 0
2013–14 29 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 30 1
2014–15 21 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 24 0
Total 59 1 1 0 3 0 0 0 63 1
Blackburn Rovers 2015–16 35 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 37 3
2016–17 25 1 2 0 2 1 0 0 29 2
Total 60 4 4 0 2 1 0 0 66 5
Burton Albion 2017–18 3 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 4 0
Career total 171 10 11 0 11 4 3 0 196 14

Personal Life[edit]

Akpan was charged with misconduct by the Football Association in November 2011, after homophobic comments were posted on his Twitter account. Despite insisting that someone else had posted the comments, he admitted the charge after no one came forward to claim responsibility, and he was fined £1,200 by the FA.[87][88]

Growing up, Akpan supported Liverpool despite progressing in the Everton youth set-up.[89][90] At school, Akpan was described as "a bright student", achieving seven As at GCSE.[89] He also described himself as "a northern boy".[91]

While at Reading, Akpan took part in the community work, leading him nominated PFA's Player in the Community award.[92][93][94]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hope Akpan profile at the English National Football Archive (subscription required)
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  5. ^ "Moyes Names Starting Xi". Everton F.C. 16 December 2009. Archived from the original on 6 August 2017. Retrieved 6 August 2017. 
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  10. ^ "Bristol City 3 - 0 Hull City". BBC Sport. 7 May 2011. Retrieved 6 August 2017. 
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  44. ^ "Frustrated Royals star Akpan eyes loan move". Get Reading. 6 November 2015. Retrieved 6 August 2017. 
  45. ^ "Nigel Adkins lays down starting place challenge to Hope Akpan". Get Reading. 15 November 2015. Retrieved 6 August 2017. 
  46. ^ "OPINION: Danny Guthrie should not walk back into the Reading FC side". Get Reading. 20 January 2014. Retrieved 6 August 2017. 
  47. ^ Charles Watts (19 January 2014). "Hope Akpan 'buzzing' to get off the mark for Reading FC". Get Reading. Retrieved 15 October 2014. 
  48. ^ "Team news: Four changes". Reading F.C. 5 April 2014. Archived from the original on 6 August 2017. Retrieved 6 August 2017. 
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  51. ^ "Akpan faces three months out". Reading F.C. 19 November 2014. Archived from the original on 6 August 2017. Retrieved 6 August 2017. 
  52. ^ "Reading FC star Hope Akpan returns from injury in Under-21s cup win". Get Reading. 3 February 2015. Retrieved 6 August 2017. 
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  54. ^ "Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 - 2 Reading". BBC Sport. 7 February 2015. Retrieved 6 August 2017. 
  55. ^ "Injury Update: Akpan & Guthrie". Reading F.C. 6 October 2014. Archived from the original on 6 August 2017. Retrieved 6 August 2017. 
  56. ^ Paul Wheelock (10 August 2015). "Blackburn Rovers look to strengthen with move for Reading midfielder Hope Akpan on cards". Lancashire Telegraph. Retrieved 11 August 2015. 
  57. ^ "Rovers complete Akpan signing". Blackburn Rovers F.C. 11 August 2015. Archived from the original on 6 August 2017. Retrieved 11 August 2015. 
  58. ^ "Hope Akpan: Reading midfielder signs for Blackburn Rovers". BBC Sport. 11 August 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2015. 
  59. ^ "Huddersfield Town 1 - 1 Blackburn Rovers". BBC Sport. 15 August 2015. Retrieved 6 August 2017. 
  60. ^ "Blackburn Rovers 2–2 Sheffield Wednesday". BBC Sport. 28 November 2015. Retrieved 30 November 2015. 
  61. ^ "Blackburn Rovers boss backing midfielder Hope Akpan to get even better". The Lancashire Telegraph. 4 November 2015. Retrieved 6 August 2017. 
  62. ^ "Hope Akpan: I'm pleased with my Blackburn Rovers form – but there is more to come". The Lancashire Telegraph. 7 October 2015. Retrieved 6 August 2017. 
  63. ^ "Middlesbrough 1 - 1 Blackburn Rovers". BBC Sport. 12 January 2016. Retrieved 6 August 2017. 
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  70. ^ "'He showed a real maturity' - Hope Akpan praises Blackburn Rovers youngster Ryan Nyambe". The Lancashire Telegraph. 8 December 2016. Retrieved 6 August 2017. 
  71. ^ "Ipswich Town 3 - 2 Blackburn Rovers". BBC Sport. 14 January 2017. Retrieved 6 August 2017. 
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  73. ^ "Hope Akpan and Blackburn Rovers charged by Football Association". BBC Sport. 16 February 2017. Retrieved 6 August 2017. 
  74. ^ "Hope Akpan: Blackburn Rovers midfielder has ban extended by FA". BBC Sport. 24 February 2017. Retrieved 6 August 2017. 
  75. ^ "“He has to have more of a ruthless streak” - Tony Mowbray on Blackburn Rovers loanee Lucas Joao". The Lancashire Telegraph. 24 March 2017. Retrieved 6 August 2017. 
  76. ^ "Blackburn Rovers boss Owen Coyle may be forced to play Charlie Mulgrew at centre-back". The Lancashire Telegraph. 17 November 2016. Retrieved 6 August 2017. 
  77. ^ "Akpan to be assessed". Blackburn Rovers F.C. 29 January 2017. Archived from the original on 6 August 2017. Retrieved 6 August 2017. 
  78. ^ "Jason Lowe: Blackburn Rovers' captain one of eight released by relegated club". BBC Sport. 18 May 2017. Retrieved 18 May 2017. 
  79. ^ "Hope Akpan: Burton Albion sign former Blackburn Rovers midfielder". BBC Sport. 18 July 2017. Retrieved 6 August 2017. 
  80. ^ "2017/18 SQUAD NUMBERS". Burton Albion F.C. 31 July 2017. Archived from the original on 6 August 2017. Retrieved 6 August 2017. 
  81. ^ "Burton Albion 0 - 1 Cardiff City". BBC Sport. 5 August 2017. Retrieved 6 August 2017. 
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  83. ^ Ed Dove (23 April 2013). "Reading's Hope Akpan sets sight on reclaiming Nigerian roots". Goal.com. Retrieved 15 October 2014. 
  84. ^ Charles Watts (8 October 2014). "Reading FC star Hope Akpan proud to get first Nigeria call-up". Get Reading. Retrieved 15 October 2014. 
  85. ^ "Hope helps Nigeria to vital win". Reading F.C. 16 October 2014. Archived from the original on 6 August 2017. Retrieved 6 August 2017. 
  86. ^ Hope Akpan at Soccerbase
  87. ^ "Crawley Town's Hope Akpan accepts FA misconduct fine". BBC Sport. 15 November 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2014. 
  88. ^ Stephen Gray (16 November 2011). "Footballer fined £1,200 for "fully homophobic" tweet". Pink News. Retrieved 15 October 2014. 
  89. ^ a b "Hope Akpan aiming to make impression on and off the field at Blackburn Rovers". The Lancashire Telegraph. 11 September 2015. Retrieved 6 August 2017. 
  90. ^ "Hope Akpan relishes return to Everton". Get West London. 28 February 2013. Retrieved 6 August 2017. 
  91. ^ "Blackburn Rovers new boy Hope Akpan cannot wait for his first East Lancs derby". The Lancashire Telegraph. 23 October 2015. Retrieved 6 August 2017. 
  92. ^ "Akpan hailed for community work". Reading F.C. 19 February 2015. Archived from the original on 6 August 2017. Retrieved 6 August 2017. 
  93. ^ "Akpan shortlisted for PFA's Player in the Community award". Reading F.C. 18 March 2015. Archived from the original on 6 August 2017. Retrieved 6 August 2017. 
  94. ^ "Akpan named Reading's #CommunityChampion". Reading F.C. 17 November 2014. Archived from the original on 6 August 2017. Retrieved 6 August 2017.