August 11, 2022

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Mikel Arteta believes Martin Odegaard has ‘all the qualities’ to be Arsenal captain

2 min read

Martin Odegaard has made such an impression at Arsenal that Mikel Arteta already sees him as captaincy material.

Arteta said Odegaard “has all the qualities” for the job as he considers who should take the armband that previously belonged to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

After falling out of favour, then moving to Barcelona, Aubameyang belongs to Arsenal’s past, and manager Arteta has yet to appoint a new full-time skipper.

Kieran Tierney is another that Arteta could turn to, with former Gunners defender Martin Keown having highlighted the left-back as a suitable candidate.

At the age of 23, Odegaard is already captain of Norway, and Arteta believes such a role at club level would also suit the former Real Madrid player.

“He certainly has all the qualities to do that, absolutely,” said Arteta. “Talking to his national team coach and how highly they speak 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 moved from Madrid to Arsenal in January 2021, initially on loan, with the move made permanent in August.

“Martin was really happy to join us because he had a really good time, he felt valued, he enjoyed what we are doing,” said Arteta. “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, and I am not surprised. The way he lives his profession, the way he likes to play football and everything he does is to become better.”

Saturday’s 2-1 win over Brentford means Arsenal sit sixth in the Premier League, four points behind fourth-placed Manchester United but with three games in hand.

Odegaard has had six goals and six assists in 45 games across all competitions for Arsenal to date. He has had just two yellow cards, pointing to discipline being a strength.

Among Arsenal’s midfielders, since his debut on January 30 last year, Odegaard is the top performer when it comes to chances created after carving out 75 (Bukayo Saka is next on 66).

Of those, 60 of the chances were created in open play (Saka next with 55), and Odegaard’s 22 throughballs is also a high mark among Arsenal midfielders, with no one else reaching double figures (Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey, both 9).

“He wants it probably more than anyone else on that pitch, every single day,” said Arteta. “He will be top, top.”

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