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Odegaard named Arsenal captain | Arteta: He wants to take club to next level

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 30/07/2022
Martin Odegaard is Arsenal's new captain © Getty Martin Odegaard is Arsenal's new captain

Mikel Arteta described Martin Odegaard as a "really good person" who wants to take Arsenal to the next level after handing the Norwegian midfielder the Arsenal captain's armband.

The 23-year-old has been handed the captaincy on a full-time basis after Arteta installed a 'leadership group' in the squad in the wake of disciplinary incidents which saw Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang stripped of the role last season.

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Odegaard's appointment was announced six days before Arsenal begin their new Premier League season away to Crystal Palace, which is live on Sky Sports' Friday Night Football next week.

"What I've seen over the past 18 months since he's been with us, he's represented the values of this football club, the team, the team-mates and the staff in the best possible way," Arteta said when asked about Odegaard's new role, following Arsenal's 6-0 Emirates Cup win over Sevilla on Saturday.

"He's displayed an ambition to take this club to a different level, to push this team and contribute within it, and as well the way he is respected by everyone inside the organisation.

"He's also the captain of his national team and I think it was the right call, and I'm proud to announce that because I think he's a really good person to deliver that commitment to the club."

Arteta: Odegaard makes phenomenal Jesus better

Arsenal ended their pre-season campaign with a 6-0 victory over Sevilla - a game which saw the Gunners' £45m summer signing score a hat-trick on his home debut.

Odegaard and Jesus linked up well during the warm-up fixture and Arteta believes the pair have already established a connection during the opening few weeks of pre-season.

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"He makes Gabby better and he needs a threat in front of him," Arteta said of Odegaard. "He can find the last pass in any moment either in close or open spaces. We need someone to make him look better and the connection is already there."

Was Odegaard the right choice as captain?

Sky Sports football journalist Sam Blitz:

This is the first captaincy decision made by Arteta, who wore the Gunners armband himself between 2014 and his retirement in 2016.

While Arteta, as he describes Odegaard now, was a well-respected member of the dressing room under Arsene Wenger, the Spaniard was not always a first-choice option in midfield. That experience may have prompted him to choose a captain likely to be playing week in, week out.

The options for the Arsenal captaincy were rather obvious given the club's leadership group last season. Alexandre Lacazette led that group but left the club in June. Kieran Tierney, Rob Holding and Odegaard were also understood to be part of that team of players.

As Arsenal's fourth-choice centre-half, Holding was never going to be considered as a serious option. Tierney is another popular member of the dressing room but he does have regular injury issues. That left Odegaard - who is one of the first names on the Arsenal team sheet and is also captain of Norway - as the sole contender.

But Arteta has been keen to stress that, irrespective of their squad status, everyone will have to do their bit in the dressing room. The Gunners boss has spoken about how Oleksandr Zinchenko and Jesus will bring the experience of big-game scenarios and high standards to the club. Leadership will go way beyond the band on Odegaard's arm.

Gabriel Jesus and Martin Odegaard linked up well on Saturday

Gabriel Jesus and Martin Odegaard linked up well on Saturday
© Getty

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