Paul MersonArsenal legend, was one of the most critical of the beginnings of Odegaard at the London club. The former English international came to question whether it was worth the investment and the time that his exclusion is willing to do for the Norwegian. He did not see him as the leader that Arteta did envision, but the former Real Madrid player has made him rectify in public with his performance. Merson has dedicated his column in the Daily Star little more than apologize to Odegaard and admit that he was wrong with his assessment of him.
“Martin Odegaard has proven me wrong and is becoming the leader Arsenal need to get through their toughest test yet. He is the main man now and the first name on the lineup sheet for me. He really has improved. I think the players respect him because they can see that he is a real player. I didn’t see him at first, I have to admit. It seemed like he really didn’t want to leave Real Madrid (…) He could have sulked and lost confidence when Madrid no longer wanted him, but now he is playing better than ever. He is the go-to man at Arsenal and makes them work. He’s not a leader in terms of running around and kicking people or yelling orders, but in terms of the way he plays, he is. (…) he has done very, very well. He always wants the ball and knows how to play it. That is also leadership. I take my hat off to him because he is top top, top. One of the best in the Premier League in my opinion,” Merson wrote in his Star column about the Norwegian.
Arsenal is fourth in the Premier League. The season is entering its final stretch and Arteta’s team has set itself the goal of getting back into the Champions League. Merson notes Odegaard’s performance crucial for this to happen. “They will need players like Odegaard to keep showing up every week and making a change, because I think almost all the players are playing as well as they can at the moment. (…) Crystal Palace out, on a Monday night under the lights, it’s a tough match. As long as they don’t panic in the match, they should be fine,” Merson said.