Mikel Arteta believes both Martin Odegaard and Albert Sambi Lokonga have the capabilities to lead Arsenal in the future due to their current and past experience of leading Norway and Anderlecht respectively.
Mikel Arteta also praised Martin Odegaard’s ability to dictate the game from midfield. The Arsenal manager said:
“I think we are building some leadership in the group. It’s a really young group, with a lot of players under 23. Martin is the captain of the national team and Sambi was the captain at Anderlecht.
“Martin has this capacity to do that with his talent, taking the ball in moments where others probably refuse to, but as well with his attitude, his rhythm and the way he presses and puts people under pressure.”
Martin Odegaard is one of six young players Arsenal have signed in the summer transfer window. The 22-year-old playmaker arrived from Real Madrid for a fee of £30 million.
It is clear that Arsenal are building a squad for the long-term. All of their new arrivals, including Ben White, Aaron Ramsdale and Takehiro Tomiyasu, are under the age of 23. Pair them with academy stars Emile Smith-Rowe and Bukayo Saka and Arsenal have a young and hungry squad.
However, since the departure of David Luiz and Hector Bellerin, Arsenal have lacked a born winner on the pitch, which Arteta hopes could be Martin Odegaard.
The 22-year-old midfielder scored a stunning free kick in Arsenal’s narrow 1-0 win over Burnley at Turf Moor.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta pleased with Martin Odegaard’s defensive performance
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta selected an attacking lineup against Burnley featuring the likes of Pepe, Smith-Rowe, Saka, Aubameyang and Martin Odegaard which left Thomas Partey as the only recognized central midfielder.
However, Martin Odegaard tracked back and did all the defensive work necessary as Arsenal managed to keep a second consecutive clean sheet in the Premier League. Speaking of Odegaard’s performance, Arteta said:
“[Odegaard] is probably the first to do it [those defensive responsibilities]. I was really impressed with Auba as well – I think his rhythm and high pressing was fantastic.
“It was a real commitment and purpose because you can go to try and win the ball or put pressure [on] – but you can tell when you are really doing it or when you’ve been told to do it.”
Arsenal’s next game in the Premier League is up against rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the North London Derby.