Man City boss Pep Guardiola hails Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard ahead of title-deciding clash: “This kid plays good!”

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola described his first meeting with Martin Odegaard before Wednesday night’s crucial Premier League clash against Arsenal at the Etihad.

Martin Odegaard is the captain of Arsenal and the national team of Norway now, but he was once a kid wonder who drew interest from every big European team on the continent. After representing his nation at the age of 15, the dynamic playmaker was a hot prospect, and he visited a number of major clubs in December 2014, eager to enter the next phase in his career.

Bayern Munich, which was managed by Guardiola at the time, was interested in the then-teenager. He has now detailed how the two of them first met over ten years before the forthcoming Premier League title match.

What did Pep Guardiola say?

Guardiola spoke with the media in his pre game press conference. He said, “I remember perfectly, he came with his father for two or three days of training sessions. I needed five minutes to think, ‘This player plays good’.” 

“I think he made a tour all over Europe, training for however many clubs. In the end, Arsenal was attractive for him, an exceptional player, captain at his age in Arsenal in a short time there is because you have to be a special personality, has the strength to be captain. Mikel [Arteta] wouldn’t give him captaincy if he didn’t have the strength to be captain.”

He also spoke about his contribution to Arsenal this season, “He’s been really good, moves really good in the pockets around the box – not a player just to make assists – and winning games, scoring goals. Really good.”

Martin Odegaard over the years

Odegaard joined Spanish giants Real Madrid as a 16-year-old and failed to live up to the great expectations put on his inexperienced shoulders.

After a number of loan spells in Holland and Spain, Odegaard in the end joined Arsenal on a permanent contract in the summer of 2021. This was after he had an outstanding six-month loan spell with the Gunners.

Martin Odegaard clearly made an impression on Pep Guardiola back in 2014

It wasn’t long before he was chosen club captain, and remarks from Arteta last July explain why he was awarded the armband and fit with Guardiola’s attitude about Odegaard’s strength to be captain at such a young age.

Arteta had said, “What I’ve seen over the last 18 months he’s been at the club with us – he represents the values of this football club, of this team, of his teammates and staff in the best possible way.” 

Odegaard has had his finest season in terms of productivity to date, scoring 12 goals and collecting seven assists in the league alone this season. He is the best-scoring midfielder in the Premier League this season. His contributions and leadership led to Arsenal grabbing the Premier League top spot for almost the entire season now.

If the Arsenal captain can lead his team to a stunning victory at the Etihad on Wednesday night, Odegaard has a good chance of winning the Premier League by the end of May.


Fazal Al Bashar

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Fazal is a passionate soccer aficionado, who when not discovering the latest soccer stories and rumors, indulges in playing FIFA all night. While he sucks at the sport, he knows the who and what in all things soccer-related.


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