Manchester City striker Erling Haaland thinks Arsenal have a ‘fantastic’ player in their captain Martin Odegaard, who is one of ‘a lot of good athletes’ to come from Norway.
Haaland and Odegaard are two of the shining lights of the current Norwegian football scene. But the Manchester City talisman believes his small Nordic country of just 5.5 million people is at the forefront in numerous sports. Norway also has the new FedEx Cup champion golfer.
Viktor Hovland landed the $18m (£14m) prize as the FedEx Cup champion after winning the 2023 Tour Championship last week. It also made the 25-year-old a three-time winner on the PGA Tour in 2022/23. The world #4 also claimed the BMW Championship earlier this month.
Haaland and Odegaard headline the PFA’s Team of the Year
Haaland added yet further silverware to Norway’s sporting successes this Tuesday. The PFA named the 23-year-old as its Player of the Year after firing Manchester City to the European treble last season. It also included the centre-forward and Odegaard in its Team of the Year.
Odegaard was one of four Arsenal players to make the team alongside Bukayo Saka, Aaron Ramsdale and William Saliba. The PFA recognised the quartet for their roles in the Gunners challenging Manchester City for the Premier League title. Arsenal led the way for 248 days.
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Mikel Arteta named Odegaard as Arsenal’s new captain ahead of the 2022/23 season after only 18 months in north London. He secured a permanent move to Emirates Stadium from Real Madrid in August 2021 for £30m, rising £4m in add-ons, following an initial loan spell.
The responsibilities of skippering the ship saw Odegaard excel as he led by superb example. Across 37 Premier League appearances, having missed one game due to an injury, Odegaard scored 15 goals. He also laid on eight assists and started in each outing for 3,150 minutes.
What has the Manchester City star said about the Arsenal captain?
Odegaard was Arsenal’s joint-top goalscorer in the Premier League last season with Gabriel Martinelli. The 51-cap Norway captain has also scored once through three games this term after converting a penalty at Crystal Palace. He has started each of their opening meetings.
Now, Haaland has urged fans not to ‘forget’ Odegaard as the Manchester City striker is a big fan of the Arsenal midfielder. Odegaard has earned 24 of his 51 Norway caps with the striker also featuring. They have also combined for three goals since first playing together in 2018.
“We’ve got a lot of athletes, as well,” Haaland said on the Impaulsive podcast. “Hovland, the golfer, is doing amazing. You’ve got [Casper] Ruud in Tennis, [who is] also amazing.
“Don’t forget Odegaard, fantastic player, he plays for Arsenal [and] he’s the captain. We’ve got a lot of good athletes from a small country and that’s also a really nice thing.”