‘Beautiful on the ball’ – What pundits are saying about Martin Odegaard

It’s often said that you should never fall in love with loan players but Martin Odegaard is making that quite difficult for Arsenal fans. 

Since joining the Gunners on a six month loan from Real Madrid in January, Odegaard has shown why he’s always been so highly rated.

Mikel Arteta has also been hugely impressed with the Norway international, and here’s what others have been saying…

Ian Wright

“Can I just say, Odegaard right. He’s beautiful on the ball, he’s so efficient and since we’ve started doing this 4-2-3-1 we’ve been so good,” Wright said on his Wrighty’s House podcast in March.

“People like Odegaard, he brings people into the game, he gives you touches he’s one of those. I remember when I played with Gazza [Paul Gascoigne], Gazza was amazing for that.

“He gives you touches of the ball, I remember when I played for England first time and he said: ‘Wrighty, just make sure when I get it, be behind me, let me know where you are I’ll turn it around the corner to you, give it me back and I’ll pass it out. Get yourself some touches early doors to get your confidence in the game’.

“That’s what he’s like, a generous player.”

Owen Hargreaves

“Odegaard was fantastic today. He puts balls on a plate for people,” Hargreaves told BT Sport after Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with Benfica in February.

Martin Keown

“Odegaard is a player it looks like Arsenal want to wait for,” Keown told talkSPORT after Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with Benfica.

“Yesterday there were flashes of really good play, really good vision and he’s a real technician. But the Arsenal players at times were ignoring him, they weren’t giving him the ball enough. That’s something they maybe want to look at.

“If you’re going to have a spare man in midfield you’ve got to use him, and he’s definitely got the talent to pick people out.”

READ: Martin Odegaard’s dancing feet are helping Arsenal look like Arsenal again

Nedum Onuoha

“He was somebody who wasn’t sure how he’d be able to adapt to the English league but he’s I think he’s found the right club in Arsenal to be playing,” Onuoha told the ESPN FC podcast in March.

“And he’s moving well, he’s linking up well with the front line. He’s got a sense of freedom, obviously still has to work hard as well, but yeah, he’s looking like he’s the real deal in that space for now, you know, long may that continue for him.”

Andy Cole

“Odegaard is a baller. He’s technically very, very gifted,” Cole said on talkSPORT in March. “There’s talk of Arsenal trying to bring him to the Emirates [on a permanent deal] in the summer. I would be surprised [if Real Madrid let him go].

“He’s had a few issues with [Zinedine] Zidane. They’re not sure if Zidane will be there next season, so that’ll be interesting. The Arsenal fans love Odegaard.”

Gilberto Silva

“It was like Roberto Carlos, you know, boom,” Silva said on his podcast after Odegaard’s goal against Olympiacos. “Come on, it looks like Roberto Carlos from outside the box. A great goal by the way,

“The fact is they had a performance I expected for a long time, they dominated the game as we used to watch Arsenal many times doing this. Individual performances were very good as well, especially from Odegaard.”

David Meyler

“We’ve all heard the hype over the last three, four years of this young man,” Meyler said on the OTB Football podcast after Arsenal’s 3-3 draw with West Ham. 

“Certainly, yesterday was one of those games where I did look at him –  21 years of age, he went and tried to get the ball everywhere. When they were 3-0 down, he was the one that was actually trying to drag them back into the game and he is an exciting talent.

“Will Real Madrid let him go? I highly doubt it. I think there’s probably conversations that like I don’t know, what is this, the third or fourth loan, and he’ll probably end up going on loan again for next year too. But certainly, he was the driving spark in Arsenal.”

Jamie Carragher

“I have been massively impressed by Odegaard since he came in this team,” Carragher said on Sky Sports. 

Alan Shearer

“He ran the game from midfield and was the driving force in Arsenal’s fightback,” Shearer told the Premier League’s official website after the draw with West Ham. “Gunners fans will be hoping he signs permanently.”

Ian Wright

“You see where Odegaard has picked the ball up there, for many years we have needed somebody to be doing this,” Wright told Optus Sport while analysing the playmaker’s role in Arsenal’s equalising goal against West Ham. 

“This is what [Mesut] Ozil was meant to do for us. He has got the ball in there and it is the pass for [Nicolas] Pepe to be able to not touch or do anything but just get it in, that is what you need. Somebody with that composure in that part of the field is going to give you that kind of quality.

“He takes care of the ball. Everything is so efficient. He doesn’t give it away in traffic. He’s got the skill, the capability to take people on, create chances, play in to forwards, in an area where Arsenal want to keep it. This is what Arsenal have been missing, what Arsenal wanted, what Arsenal need.

“We’re talking about somebody they should be looking to make sure they can do that deal. Without a doubt [he should be top of the list this summer], technically he is easily our best midfield player.”

Alex Scott

“I remember a couple of weeks ago against Manchester City, saying that Odegaard was bang average, like many of the other Arsenal players that game,” Scott said on Match of the Day 2 following the draw with West Ham. 

“But since then, his levels have just taken it up and up like he’s getting used to finding the spaces, what the Premier League is about.

“And today, he was absolutely sensational. He was just like at half-time: ‘I want to win this game. I’m going to drag us out of the situation that we’ve been in’. He was absolutely everywhere.

“He can see passes before they’re even there for his team-mates. Such a technical player. I think Arsenal need to do everything they can to keep him next season.”

Danny Murphy

“He’s got a brilliant football brain,” Murphy told talkSPORT. “He’s very good at finding space, technically very gifted with either foot, keeps the ball very well, always plays on the front foot and he defends better than [Mesut] Ozil. 

“He knows his job in the team, he drops into positions and presses really well. His fitness levels are superb by the way, I’ve watched him these last few games and his fitness is really good.

“He is capable of becoming a superstar for Arsenal, he really is. He’s just got to add a bit more end product in terms of goals and assists but that will come. He’s got everything you need to play that role [behind the striker].

John Barnes

“It would make sense for Martin Odegaard to stay in North London for the foreseeable future and for Arsenal to keep him on a permanent basis,’” Barnes told BonusCodeBets in March.

“Odegaard isn’t going to get back into the Real Madrid team next season so it would be pointless for him to leave a club where he is getting regular game time and performing well.

“It was a mistake for him to sign for Real Madrid at 15 because he was never going to play much and this stifled his development. If Real Madrid do not win the league this season, they’re going to make some major signings, meaning he almost certainly will not make the team next season.

“I’ve been impressed with Odegaard, and although he’s playing in an inconsistent team, he’s been playing well, Arsenal will get better and so will he.”

If you fancy Odegaard to lead Arsenal to success in the future, back the Gunners with online betting.

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