“I had a target of reaching 25 goals in all competitions and thankfully I got 27,” the Crystal Palace striker says, looking back on a highlight-laden season in which the striker finished top scorer of the Under-18 Premier League south. “I wanted to be top scorer in my league as well.
“I write them in my notes, every single time I score a goal and assist as well. I write them in my notes so I remember.”
Both targets were achieved, and nothing was left to chance. Before the start of the campaign, fellow Academy forward David Omilabu – who scored prolifically for the Under-18s last season before graduating to the Under-23s – challenged Akinwale to eclipse his tally.
“Last year I didn’t score as many – David stole the spotlight!” Akinwale laughs. “I was watching him and seeing what he does and using him as motivation.
“He told me to beat his record of 21 goals. I used it as motivation to score as many goals as I can and to surpass his target. He wasn’t really happy about it! But he was happy for me.
“It feels good. I feel like in pre-season I worked really hard, so I'm just happy to get top scorer. It’s unfortunate that we didn’t come higher in the league, but we did our best this season.”