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Martin Odegaard ‘moving in the right way’ towards Arsenal armband – Mikel Arteta

The Gunners boss has urged the Norway captain to add more goals to his game, however.

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Martin Odegaard has been touted as a future Arsenal captain (John Walton/PA)

Martin Odegaard has been touted as a future Arsenal captain (John Walton/PA)

Martin Odegaard has been touted as a future Arsenal captain (John Walton/PA)

Mikel Arteta has hailed Martin Odegaard’s natural leadership qualities but has called on the Norway captain to add more goals to his game.

Odegaard, 23, has been touted as a future Arsenal skipper and has been in fine form in recent months.

Signed permanently from Real Madrid in the summer having spent the second half of last season on loan at the Emirates Stadium, Odegaard has played a pivotal role in turning the Gunners into Champions League contenders.

With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang allowed to leave for Barcelona in January, Alexandre Lacazette has been installed as captain for now – but he is out of contract in the summer.

Arteta insisted recently he is not worried about who his long-term skipper will be but was full of praise for Odegaard’s credentials.

“He is moving in the right way,” Arteta said.

“He is the national team captain. He is one of the senior players here, for sure, even at his age, and it comes very natural to him.”

Recently, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola told Jack Grealish not to concern himself with his goals and assists – “Statistics never existed before,” he said.

“It’s how you play today if you perform to your maximum, to your best, help your team-mates to make the process defensively and offensively better – it’s enough.”

For Arteta, Odegaard is a similar player – where statistics do not show how important his contribution is.

He’s showing that every single week. He’s phenomenal to work with. He’s developing areas of his game that we discussed, that he agreed, and that we believed could help him impact matches.Mikel Arteta on Martin Odegaard

“Martin for us is a really important player, that’s for sure,” he said.

“He’s showing that every single week. He’s phenomenal to work with. He’s developing areas of his game that we discussed, that he agreed, and that we believed could help him impact matches in a much more powerful way.

“His whole mindset, the way he prepares himself, the way he treats people, the way he plays the game, is just exactly what we want from an Arsenal player.”

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Despite that, Arteta wants that influence to come in more dangerous areas and add to his four goals so far this season.

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Odegaard scored a fine free-kick as Arsenal won at Burnley earlier in the season (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Odegaard scored a fine free-kick as Arsenal won at Burnley earlier in the season (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Odegaard scored a fine free-kick as Arsenal won at Burnley earlier in the season (Anthony Devlin/PA)

“He needs to play close to the opponents’ box, for sure,” added Arteta.

“He needs to create more goals, he needs to score more goals, he needs to make more runs in behind, he needs to be closer to the strikers to give them support, and he can do that.

“He needs to score more free kicks. He can still contribute more on our set pieces. His defensive work is phenomenal.

“There are areas where he can only get better, and the only way to get better is to agree on on them, and then practise.”

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