Martin Odegaard says he would be thrilled to assume the captaincy of Arsenal, and he’s eager to use the “rage and disappointment” from the previous season as motivation for the upcoming campaign.
Odegaard is a front-runner for the position of captain for the 2022–23 season, and Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has acknowledged that he will name his choice shortly. Norway international would be pleased to accept the call.
Speaking from Arsenal’s pre-season tour in Orlando ahead of a pre-season game against Chelsea, he said: “I always enjoy responsibility.
“I’m a captain for my country and it’s a nice experience, so I enjoy that. I don’t know anything about the situation here, I think that question is for Mikel and the club, but if he asked me of course I would be happy to do it.”
Last season, former striker Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang was stripped of the armband by Arteta before his January switch to Barcelona, while his successor, Alexandre Lacazette, joined Lyon.
Granit Xhaka also lost the captaincy after a breakdown in his relationship with the club’s fans but Odegaard insists he is not burdened by the role’s chequered recent history.
“No, it’s not something I think about. I think about the future, and to make that as good as possible, so we’ll see what happens.”
Arsenal finished fifth last term, failing to secure Champions League football, but Odegaard insists his teammates are driven by the disappointment of missing out on Europe’s top club competition and says a “clear plan” for improvement exists.
“We’ve talked about last season and what we need to do better,” he said. “I think we have really clear goals and a clear plan to improve.
“It’s always an area to improve, the mentality of the team, and I think all the players coming in have brought something good. Just the energy, the personality. They bring good vibes, you know? They push the team. On and off the pitch they’re good people, and I think that’s important for the team.
“I think we learned that we need to be sharp in every situation in every game. This league is so tough so you need to be at your best every time you play.
“We have to use that in a good way. We need to use that anger and disappointment and take it into this season and show that we have improved, we have learned, and hopefully, we can do that now.”
“I think the new signings have been really good,” Odegaard said. “All of them came in and have been really good — working hard, good personalities, so I think all of them bring something good to the team.
“Fabio is still injured, and we’ve seen Matt [Turner] play and Gabi, so I think they’re all going to be good for us, and especially me playing close to Gabriel up front will be really fun.
“I’ve seen (Zinchenko) play a lot and I really like his qualities, I think he’s a really great player. I think he can play both positions, sometimes as a left-back and midfield, I think he can even play as a winger. He can play different positions so I think he will be a great addition to the squad.
“I’ve said it many times: we have a young team, but I think all the players have been through a lot. We have a lot of experience, especially at a young age. We have to use that in a good way and hopefully, we’ll just keep improving with time, with the players getting older and more experienced. I’m really excited for the future.”