Tim Akinola might be well known as a baller in the lower leagues and for those wondering where he’s gone, well, nowadays he’s making moves in the Arsenal youth squad with the hope of one day getting his day in the spotlight within the first team.
Before joining Huddersfield Town in June 2019, Tim Akinola was at Lincoln City, where his progress was rewarded by breaking into the first-team squad in the EFL Trophy. Since then his consistency and passion hasn’t gone unnoticed, when he signed for Arsenal last year. Predominantly a central midfielder, Tim, who started his youth career at League Two side Mansfield Town, is eligible to represent both Nigeria and England. PENALTY got the chance to chat to Tim about his career and everything in between.
Over a year ago you made the move from Huddersfield to Arsenal. How would you describe the past 16 months?
The past 16 months have been really positive. I’ve shown a lot of improvement to my game play and I have adapted well and I’m really enjoying it here.
You only started playing professionally at 16 years old which has meant a move to a top flight club is presumably a lot to process in such a short space of time. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt over the past 4 years?
That the harder you work and the more faith you have will get you a long way. Also listen to constructive criticism and not just criticism.
You were involved in a campaign with Alexander McQueen raising awareness around mental health within the game. Do you think there’s enough conversation surrounding mental health?
Mental health is a big thing, especially as a footballer, you get hate all the time and you get judged quickly. It’s almost like your career depends on a coach's opinion so yeah, it’s a big thing. I think to play football at a high level you have to be mentally strong and not let anything faze you. Of course, we’re all human and we react to things emotionally but it’s how you stay strong mentally and not let it beat you down that has helped me in my career to keep going to a bigger stage every year.
What’s your most memorable game of football?
My most memorable game of football was a few years ago when I was at Lincoln we played West Brom in the youth cup. I didn't know what to expect because that was the first time I’d ever come up against a big club. Although we lost the game I had probably one of the best performances I’ve ever had on a football pitch and that day I then said to myself the sky's my limit now, I can play at the highest level.
What are your main ambitions within football?
My main ambition in football is to become one of the best players of my generation and to win a big trophy in front of my family.
What are your passions outside of football?
My other passions outside of football are mostly fashion related, like photoshoots, buying different outfits that I like because if I look good, I’ll feel good, and if I feel good I’ll play good. I also like to read books and I watch a lot of films and documentaries.
Styling & Creative Direction by Nayaab Tania.
Player booking by 1ONECONCIERGE.
Photography by Streak Studio.