Martin Odegaard finally delivering on teenage potential

OPINION Martin Odegaard finally delivering on teenage potential

Ifeanyi Ufomadu 11:14 - 22.01.2023
The Norwegian midfielder is now fulfilling the promise he demonstrated as a teenager by leading Arsenal towards the Premier League title

When Arsenal host Manchester United on Sunday, Martin Odegaard will take center stage in the sort of glamour fixture he was born to grace.

Martin Odegaard has been one of the best players in the Premier League this season
Martin Odegaard has been one of the best players in the Premier League this season

Odegaard's rise through the ranks

Hailed as the most gifted teenager of his generation, Odegaard made his senior debut for Stromsgodset in 2014 at the age of 15 and became Norway's youngest-ever player later that year.

Odegaard became the youngest player in Real Madrid's history
Odegaard became the youngest player in Real Madrid's history

He chose Spanish giants Real Madrid from a host of suitors in 2015 and became the youngest player in the club's history, aged 16 years and 157 days but he struggled to live up to the hype under the bright Bernabeu lights and was sent out on loan a number of times.

Those loans included spells at Heerenveen, Vitesse Arnhem, and Real Sociedad. It began to look unlikely that he would fulfill his enormous potential.

 He was thrust back into the spotlight when Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta took him on loan for the second half of the 2020/21 season.

Odegaard in action for Arsenal
Odegaard in action for Arsenal

He performed well for Arsenal on loan but wasn't necessarily a headline grabber in those six months. However, Real Madrid's decision to sell him to the Gunners permanently for about £30 million in 2021 was interpreted as evidence he would not make the cut.

Odegaard seized his moment

It was clear that Odegaard's career needed a major reset and thanks to Mikel Arteta and Arsenal, he found a home to showcase his obvious talent on a more consistent basis.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta gives instructions to Martin Odegaard
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta gives instructions to Martin Odegaard

He was handed the Arsenal captaincy by Arteta at the start of this season and Odegaard has rewarded his manager's faith, emerging as one of the central figures in their surge to the top of the Premier League

The 24-year-old has steadily improved his output and become more involved in the final actions. He has already scored eight goals and provided five assists in 17 league games this season. 

To put his breakthrough campaign into perspective, he finished last season with seven goals and four assists in the league.

Odegaard won the Premier League's player of the month award for November and December and has become the heartbeat of an Arsenal side that seems destined for great things. 

After a disappointing few years, the Norwegian who is an early favourite for player of the season, is finally fulfilling his early potential.

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