Martin Odegaard stakes claim for Arsenal captaincy as he reveals influence on two team-mates

Arsenal star Martin Odegaard

Martin Odegaard reckons he has the leadership skills to become Arsenal captain in the future and has revealed his influence on younger team-mates Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe.

The armband is up for grabs following Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s winter move to Barcelona. Gunners boss Mikel Arteta has used either Alexandre Lacazette or Granit Xhaka as his leaders since then.

But with those two players attracting transfer interest from Lyon and Roma respectively, the role could become available this summer.

Odegaard is a notable candidate, having been appointed Norway captain in March last year – at the age of 22.

The attacking midfielder, who has been in great form this season, has plenty of experience despite being so young. In 2015, he left Norwegian outfit Stromsgodset to join Real Madrid as a teenager.

Odegaard was subsequently sent on loan to Heerenveen, Vitesse and Real Sociedad in a bid to gain more experience. He spent the second half of last season on loan at the Emirates and did enough to earn a £30million move last summer.

During an interview with the PA news agency, Odegaard said: “I’ve been through a lot, you know.

Martin Odegaard talks experience

“I went to Real Madrid when I was 16, I played in Norway at 15 and I’ve been to some different clubs on loan and I feel like I’ve been through a lot.

“That helped me to grow up and to feel more confident and to use that in a good way now.

“Of course, it’s a bit more responsibility with being captain for your country but I don’t feel like I’ve changed after that. I think I’m the same person.

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“I would do the same things if I wasn’t the captain there and I would always try to help the team so to me that’s not the most important thing.”

When asked about Arsenal’s summer transfer strategy, which focused on bringing in young talent, Odegaard said: “The club did really well.

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“I think they had a clear plan what they wanted to do and what kind of players and profiles they wanted to bring in. I think everyone they brought in has done a great job, improved the team a lot, so credit to them.”

Odegaard was also asked about using his experience at Real Madrid to help Saka and Smith Rowe. “Yes, of course,” he replied.

“They don’t need a lot of help but of course I can give them some advice and tips about how I made sure to keep focused on football, have good people in my life.

“I think they’ve been through a lot already but we can talk about different experiences, I can help with that.”

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