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Arsenal news: Mikel Arteta names Martin Odegaard as future captain – ‘Top, top player’ | Football | Sport


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Mikel Arteta believes that Martin Odegaard can be a future Arsenal captain. As Arsenal, inch by inch, have rebuilt their season from that disastrous start, the young Norwegian has been increasingly running the show, armband or not.

Goals from Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka may have won a one-sided game against Brentford for Arsenal at the Emirates on Saturday, and put them within touching distance of fourth place, but it was 23-year-old livewire Odegaard who was the catalyst.

Arsenal had Odegaard for an impressive sixth -onth loan spell last year, but he returned to parent club Real Madrid and Arsenal had to battle to make the signing permanent in the summer for £34million. Now, in the No 10 role in Arteta’s team, Odegaard is a key player.

The Arsenal manager said: “Martin has all the qualities to be a captain, absolutely. I have talked to his national team coach Stale Solbakken and they speak highly of him.

“He walks through the corridor and everybody loves him. He is such a nice, humble guy and he leads with the way he is. It is very natural for him – and that will come.”

Odegaard’s pace, quick feet, non stop running and eye for the killer pass were far too much for a sliding Brentford – as the Norwegian finished the game with 88 touches, completing 64 of his 72 passes.

Arteta added: “We had a period where we could evaluate what Martin could bring to the club. We had no doubts. The club was brilliant to secure him.

“Martin was really happy to join us because he felt valued, he enjoyed what we are doing, he got a really good connection with the players and the supporters. He wanted to be part of the project.

“Since then he is getting better and better. I am not surprised. The way he lives his profession, the way he likes to play – everything he does is to become better. He still has a big margin.

“He wants it probably more than anyone else on that pitch – every single day. He will be a top, top player.

“He generated expectations when he was 16. Everybody wanted him. Then he had to fulfil that in a club like Madrid where the competition is extremely difficult. But now he has found his place.”

Penned in their own half for much of the game, Brentford, sliding worryingly on a run of one point from their last seven games, threatened only sporadically, and are now only six points above the drop zone.

Their goal, which put a shine on the scoreline, came when Christian Norgaard fired home at the second attempt in injury time. It was far too little, too late.

Granit Xhaka bizarrely appeared to snub taking on the captaincy. Eddie Nketiah attempted to pass the armband to Xhaka twice after replacing Alexandre Lacazette, but was ignored, before it was accepted by Kieran Tierney.

Xhaka, stripped of the captaincy in 2019, has actually been skipper twice this season.

And Arteta explained: “Kieran was next in line. Maybe Eddie didn’t pick the instruction up and Granit told him he should give it to Kieran.”

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