Martin Odegaard has insisted there are ‘no limits’ to what Arsenal can achieve under Mikel Arteta, and explained one of the unusual reasons why he decided to join the club.
Odegaard has enjoyed a superb season so far, wearing the captain’s armband as the Gunners have established a five point lead at the top of the Premier League table.
Arsenal have won 16 of their 20 league games this season, and manager Mikel Arteta has rightly taken a lot of the credit. The Spaniard endured a tough start to his managerial career at the Emirates Stadium, but the faith the club placed in him has more than been rewarded.
For Odegaard, this season’s success should come as no surprise.
“When he speaks to you, you understand that whatever he says will happen, will happen,” the 24-year-old Norwegian told The Players’ Tribune.
“He’s next level. He’s passionate, he’s intense and sometimes, yeah, he’s a bit crazy.
“Take it from me that there are no limits to what we can achieve. No-one can tell me otherwise.”
Odegaard explained the clarity of Arteta’s plan and the opportunity to play with talented youngsters like Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli persuaded him to join Arsenal in 2021. However, the EA Sports FIFA video game played a role too.
“I’ve always had this weird connection to Arsenal.
“I’ve never been that much into video games. I am of that generation that always played outside, but the one exception was FIFA.
“I mostly played Career Mode. You know, where you get to be the manager? The club I always chose to manage was Arsenal. They were my FIFA team.”
Odegaard added: “Growing up in Norway, I watched a lot of Premier League and I just had this good feeling about Arsenal. I’d seen clips of Thierry Henry and the Invincibles.
“I knew the club had a history of developing playmakers like Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Mesut Ozil — really smart, technical players, who were good on the ball and played the difficult passes. My kind of players.
“Around the 2015 edition, I started actually appearing in FIFA. I didn’t look much like me at first. I think I was like a 67 overall, but I was actually in the game and it was a big deal.
“So, naturally, one of the first things I did when I was pretending to be Arsene Wenger on Career Mode was to buy myself.
“That special connection turned into a reality when I signed here two years ago. It was a decision that changed my life around. I come into training smiling every day.”