Martin Odegaard: Arsenal midfielder reaches the crossroads

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When Martin Odegaard joined Arsenal on loan from Real Madrid in January, he hoped that he would succeed in the Europa League and the top four in the Premier League.

None of these aspirations have come true. And, with the possibility of next season’s European qualification. Arsenal may find it difficult to hold the 22-year-old.

After a good start, his progress has got hampered by injuries. And his playing time has been limited recently.

But there has been a brilliant light from the Norwegian midfielder. Reminders of why he has long got regarded as a star in construction. And why Real Madrid bought him among many players as a 16-year-old.

So what do those who play on the sidelines and watch Odegaard think of him? And will we see him wearing an actual shirt again next season?

Odegaard’s signing from Real came when Arsenal was fighting for the arts. And other lovely new players Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe, have given the impression that he is at home in the big leagues.

Manager Mikel Arteta has repeatedly praised Odegaard.

Manager Mikel Arteta has repeatedly praised Odegaard, who is quick to adapt to his leadership skills.

“When everyone in the team was nervous, he gave us that stability, calmness in football. And created opportunities and opportunities.” 

Arteta said after Odegaard’s satisfactory performance in a 3-3 draw with West Ham in March.

That was not news to the Norwegian fans, where Odegaard was appointed this year as national team captain despite being only 22 years old.

Martin Odegaard won the title of a superstar in his homeland. 

He won the title of a superstar in his homeland a long time ago. In April 2014, he got taken over by Stromsgodset against Aalesunds FK.

And he became the youngest player in the history of the best airline in Norway. At the age of 15 and 118 days. 

Just four months later, he appeared for the first time on the national team. He was facing the United Arab Emirates, becoming the first young Norwegian player.

Martin Odegaard won the title of a superstar in his homeland (Source: Goal .com)
Martin Odegaard won the title of a superstar in his homeland (Source: Goal .com)

But Odegaard’s teammates in Stromsgodset knew his power long before that. The coaches also noticed this, and they made him train with the first team when he was 13 years old.

“I remember a friend during summer 2012.” Hungarian striker Peter Kovacs who is 20 years older than Odegaard, told BBC Sport. “Martin came in as a sub and no muscle, but he gave me help, and we played a 2-2 draw.

“From the first-ever training session itself, you could get to see that this guy had something extraordinary. We were experienced guys, but he just cheated on us. He was playing the game from the first game.”

Odegaard received time to play in Stromsgodset by Ronny Deila. 

Odegaard received time to play in Stromsgodset by Ronny Deila, who managed Celtic and did not look back. 

Even though he was very young, it was his ingenuity in the game that set him apart.

“I also remember a training camp held in Spain before the 2014 season. When we played against CSKA Moscow,” added Kovacs.

“Martin had got the ball. And suddenly, three or four big Russian boys tried to take it away from him. I thought that he was going to get hurt or something like that. But he just got out of the situation so easily. It was amazing to see.”

Odegaard started playing soccer on the dusty ground in his hometown of Drammen. 

Under the watchful eye of his father, Hans Erik, he trained for at least 20 hours a week as a child and soon became better than the older children around him. 

After joining Stromsgodset, he continued to rise through the ages and ended up as a boy in a dressing room full of men.

Martin Odegaard received time to play in Stromsgodset by Ronny Deila (Source: BBC)
Martin Odegaard received time to play in Stromsgodset by Ronny Deila (Source: BBC)

“The coach also told him he would get treated the same as other players, even if he was so young,” Kovacs said. 

“When we wanted to face him, we were holding him tight. He was going to study hard, and I believe he benefited from that. 

Norwegian football is challenging and physically fit.

Norwegian football is challenging and physically fit. It gave him a pretty good start in his professional life.”

Odegaard entered the Stromsgodset training camp shortly after his school classes ended in the afternoon. And did two types and exercises before going home.

“His effort was always 100%. In his mind, he was like an older professional,” said Jarl Andre Storbaek, who plays right back in Stromsgodset. 

“Norwegian kids don’t understand the costs to get something as good as him. They train maybe half that and think they’ll follow.”

After Odegaard became a full member of Stromsgodset’s first team, Storbaek met him on the ground early in the morning. 

“I was only 36 years old at the time, so I needed to get some exercise. Martin came to the meeting early. 

“And although he was only 15 years old, it was me. The oldest boy in the group, and Martin, the youngest boy, made arrangements early. 

“I saw that he was a man who was very well determined enough to get what he wanted to get.”

When Storbaek confronted him on the training ground, he would get a sense of humor. 

Seven years earlier, he had played for Norway in a friendly against Argentina and defended Lionel Messi.

“It was almost the same feeling when I met Martin,” Storbaek added. “And He also already had all those skills: the correct pass rate, and he was able to adjust with his position to other players. 

And break the line, make sprints, change his movements in a different way than you thought. 

Martin Odegaard (Source: Goal .com)
Martin Odegaard (Source: Goal .com)

He was the best of them all. That I found him, but no, far from it, and he turned the other way and left. “

It soon became clear to everyone Odegaard that he would not be staying in Norway for long. Many European elite clubs are keen to include Bayern Munich, Liverpool, and Arsenal. 

Inevitably comparisons with Messi appeared in the newspapers.

However, in January 2015, Real Madrid signed him, paying the first reported fee by the Spanish media to be £ 2.3m.

The path to Real’s first team proved to be complicated. But Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Braut Haaland has missed the player who got destined to become Norway’s first soccer star.

Carlo Ancelotti gave him his first chance of a 7-3 home win over Getafe, replacing Cristiano Ronaldo. 

“When he first time had appeared in Norway, he came to me,” Kovacs said. “In Madrid, he has replaced Ronaldo. 

I told him: ‘Martin, now you must remember that you have replaced Ronaldo with me!'”

Odegaard was unable to find time to play at the Bernabeu, so he made his first loan move, joining Dutch club Heerenveen in January 2017. 

It took him a while to get used to it there in the game. “In Heerenveen, he was fine. But somehow, he didn’t achieve his potential there,” said Dutch football journalist Merijn Slagter.

That changed when Odegaard had joined another Eredivisie club – Vitesse. “In Vitesse, we saw a better Odegaard. Sometimes he was quite talented,” Slagter said.

Martin Odegaard Inevitably comparisons with Messi (Source: Goal .com)
Martin Odegaard Inevitably comparisons with Messi (Source: Goal .com)

“He was one of the best players in the league. He could have read the game well.

“And was always on two steps before his rivals, and Ajax wanted to buy him, but it didn’t work out.

In the summer of 2019, Real sent him another loan to Real Sociedad, and Odegaard impressed. 

As one of the club’s leaders, he helped Sociedad reach the Copa del Rey and sixth place in La Liga. By earning a place in the Europa League. La Real wanted him back.

But during the last summer, Real manager Zinedine Zidane decided to keep him in Madrid. 

Odegaard had started his first league game of the 2020-21 season. But after being replaced during a break against Real Betis, he ended up on the bench. 

With Toni Kroos and Luka Modric in their place, the chances of getting into the first XI are slim. Arsenal moved.

His impact on England is hard to imagine. He has been instrumental at some point but, although statistics may only show part of the picture.

Martin Odegaard impact on England is hard to imagine (Source: Never Manage Alone)
Martin Odegaard impact on England is hard to imagine (Source: Never Manage Alone)

His green numbers do nothing to suggest he could fire Modric. And Kroos when he returns to Madrid in the summer: 11 Premier League appearances, one goal, no assists, no great chances created.

Where does all this leave him?

He is happy at Arsenal, and he feels respected. And the Gunners have made a great effort to make sure he knows he is famous. 

The Premier League got highly regarded in Norway, so there is a specific position given to those in it.

But Odegaard may feel that he should be playing European football. Nothing else is on the table right now, and Real needs to rejuvenate their team. But Zidane’s future is likely to be very important.

Zidane has decided that he can find him without Odegaard at the start of the season.

However, it is uncertain whether the manager will be available next season. Many Real players are waiting for him to leave.

For Odegaard, finding a permanent home where he is admired and can always play at a high level is his next big challenge.

Sanjib Sah
Sanjib Sah
Sanjib Sah is an engineer and content writer passionate about sports and athletics. With a background in engineering and a love for all things active, Sanjib brings a unique perspective to the world of sports writing. Whether he is covering the latest trends in sports technology or sharing tips on improving your game, Sanjib's words are always rooted in a deep appreciation for players' hard work and dedication everywhere. In his free time, you can find him hitting the courts or hitting the trails, always looking for new ways to challenge himself and improve his skills.

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