Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has said that Martin Odegaard has the potential to be one of the best players in the world.
In the January transfer window, the Norway international joined the Gunners on loan from Real Madrid for the rest of the season. Since his arrival, he has made three appearances in the Premier League for the North London side. He made his first start for the club in their 4-2 victory over Leeds United at the Emirates and the 22-year-old put in an impressive performance.
Arteta spoke about how he followed the Norwegian attacker when he was on loan at Real Sociedad last season and was very impressed with his performances over long periods of time.
On whether he can make Odegaard one of the best players in the world, Arteta said:
“Well, he’s got the potential. I followed him very closely when he was at Real Sociedad and he had a lot of opportunities and he was really impressive over there for long periods. He had a really successful season over there and that’s one of the reasons why I was so convinced that he’s a player for us. He’s a player that I really like and as you say, still has huge potential to become even better.”
The Gunners boss praised Odegaard and the way he has settled into life in North London. He said that the player is well liked by everybody at the club and that he has been particularly impressed by his leadership abilities on the pitch. Odegaard is very vocal with his teammates and commands the high press. Despite the pressure on him from the opposition, he never goes hiding and always wants the ball in the right areas.
On what he’s made of Odegaard so far, Arteta said:
“All positive from my first conversations with him. He’s a really focused and humble boy that was really keen to join, but he just wants to play football in the right way and then he said some really good things. He’s a really nice guy, the players like him, the staff like him, he’s easy going, a really hard worker, and I’ve been very impressed with his leadership. He looks a little bit calm but on the pitch he’s got something about him. I’ve been really impressed with him.”
On whether Odegaard has a bigger character than he expected, he said:
“Yes and when I talk about leadership as well, it’s how he talks to his team-mates, how he commands the high press and then the personality he shows. Every time the opponent comes after him, he still shows for the ball in the right areas. His decision making is really good and he’s a really intelligent player.”
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