Odegaard’s first spell at the club was a moderate success: last year’s spring loan spell included some big improvements, such as scoring in the north London derby against Tottenham, but also unknown spells.
When the Norwegian signed permanently with Arsenal in August, he sat down with Arteta and the club’s coaching staff to consider how to develop him further as a footballer.
Ødegaard’s target plan was recently described as follows by Arteta:
He must play close to the opponent’s penalty area. He needs to score more goals, create more chances, run more in the backcourt, and get closer to the attackers to support them. He needs to score more on free kicks and can still contribute more on set pieces.
In an interview with TV 2 just after the end of the match, Ødegaard tells more about the conversations that started what appears to be his ultimate achievement in European football.
– It had a lot to do with my attitude, Ødegaard begins.
– What rooms should I threaten and where should I play, he continues.
– Last year I came maybe a little too often too low and too little wrong. Now we’ve found better pose and better rhythm. I go more to dangerous rooms and I am where things happen. That was it, says the dramatist man for TV 2.
In recent weeks Odegaard has played, in the opinion of many, the best football of his career, not least because he did exactly what Arteta wanted.
Last weekend he scored a fantastic goal in the victory over Watford. He followed Sunday with an impressive performance in the 2-0 home win against Leicester, adding as many as six goal chances – the most in a game since becoming an Arsenal player.
He was named the best player on the field by Sky Sports and was praised by Arteta in the post-match press conference.
– He was great again, throughout the game, Arteta smiles and adds:
– He’s come a long way since he came here. It makes other players better.
It is clear that Arteta has great confidence in Ødegaard. During Arsenal matches, he is often seen imparting his tactical instructions to the squad through conversations with Odegaard along the sideline.
Ødegaard himself certainly wouldn’t overdo it, even if it was repeated during Sunday’s game.
– It might be a bit coincidence. I’m away a lot and try to get some drink when I can. Then there is always some message. There is nothing very special about this, says Ødegaard.
Already on Wednesday, Liverpool are waiting at home for Odegaard and Arsenal.
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