Martin Odegaard says he is ready to become the new Arsenal skipper after standing in as captain for Mikel Arteta last season.
Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were Arsenal’s leaders last season, but with both players gone, Arteta is looking for a new figurehead. And Odegaard looks like a top contender after Arteta turned to him last season.
In fact the Norway international skippered the side for the final eight games of the season last term with Aubameyang gone and Lacazette jettisoned to the bench.
The 23-year-old is already captain of his country and the main role at Arsenal could well be coming for Odegaard. And the midfielder, who made his loan move permanent from Real Madrid last summer, is ready for the task.
“It’s not something I think about. I think about the future, and to make that as good as possible, so we’ll see what happens. I always enjoy responsibility. I’m captain for my country (Norway) and it’s a nice experience, so I enjoy that,” said Odegaard, via the Daily Mirror.
“I don’t know anything about the situation here, I think that question is for Mikel Arteta and the club, but if he asked me of course I would be happy to do it. And I think you will see a hungry Arsenal team coming back now.
“I think we learned that we need to be sharp in every situation in every game. This league is so tough so you need to be at your best every time you play. We have to use that in a good way.
“We need to use that anger and disappointment and take it into this season. And show that we have improved, we have learned, and hopefully we can do that now.”
Arteta said at the start of the week he is close to appointing a new skipper.
“I wanted to see how everybody is integrating, the new boys, the ones that come from pre-season. The next few weeks it will be decided and explained,” said the Gunners chief.
Odegaard happy with ‘good people’ arriving
“Martin (Odegaard) has a lot of qualities that we want as a captain.”
Odegaard, who Arsenal paid an initial £30m for last summer, was also asked about Arsenal’s new arrivals.
Gabriel Jesus, Fabio Vieira, Marquinhos, Matt Turner and Oleksandr Zinchenko have all arrived. And Odegaard believes Arteta has managed to add players with the correct mindset.
“I don’t think we lacked something really. But I think it’s always an area to improve – the mentality of the team — and I think all the players coming in have brought something good. The energy, the personality. They bring good vibes, they push the team,” he said.
“On and off the pitch they’re good people, and I think that’s important for the team. We have a lot of experience, especially for a young age. We have to use that in a good way and hopefully we’ll just keep improving with time, with the players getting older and more experienced.”