Ian Wright believes Martin Odegaard is proving just why Arsenal paid £30million to sign him from Real Madrid, with the playmaker’s latest eye-catching display coming in the north London derby
Odgeaard was not among the goals or assists like fellow attackers Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but he played a key role as the Gunners convincingly won the midfield battle in their 3-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur.
Wright has been hugely impressed by Odegaard’s willingness to receive the ball and influence the game by taking up threatening positions.
“It’s a not a case of how exciting he can be, it’s more a case of what we know he can do,” the former Gunners striker said of Odegaard after the north London derby.
“He picks up brilliant positions and he just controls the tempo of the game, constantly getting himself in the box.
“We saw him score the free kick against Burnley, but he remains calm when he’s on the ball in key positions, it’s something we didn’t do when he wasn’t around.
“We weren’t able to hold the ball in these areas, win the ball in these areas and then have the composure from a midfielder who doesn’t give the ball away.
“He’s very calm, he’s very composed. It’s the quality now it’s more than just hoping to play the ball to Kieran Tierney.
“We can keep the ball in areas where we can actually hurt teams. He’s the kind of midfielder that is going to be invaluable to us.”
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Arsenal pursued Odegaard throughout the summer after his eye-catching short-term loan in the second half of last season.
Emirates chiefs eventually landed their No.10 target in August and he has made five appearances this campaign, also chipping in with an assist in the Carabao Cup.
Odegaard was on the scoresheet in last season’s north London derby and hailed another “special day” after Sunday evening’s resounding victory over Spurs.
“This was amazing. It shows how much it means for the fans,” Odegaard told Norwegian outlet TV2 . “It has been a special day, and it was great to be able to give this back to the fans.”
Victory in the north London derby saw Arsenal leapfrog Tottenham into the top half of the Premier League for the first time this season.
The Gunners take on Brighton and Hove Albion next weekend, while Spurs face Slovenian club Mura on Thursday in the Europa Conference League.