Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson has admitted that he was too quick to judge Arsenal midfielder Martin Odegaard.
The ex-Gunners star wasn’t too impressed with the Norwegian when he first arrived at the Emirates but, over the course of his first full season in the Premier League, Merson believes the playmaker has managed to adapt to English football:
“Odegaard has really come to the party now. He is a very good footballer. I didn’t really see that at the start of his time with Arsenal, but I really see it now. He’s a player that sees things very quickly and he has great movement. He is a quality player.”
“I think it did take him a while to get going and settle into life at Arsenal. He probably hoped things would work out for him at Real Madrid. But now he’s at Arsenal, and he’s seen what a club it is, and it’s a move that’s worked out for both parties.”
Many supporters were in the same boat as Merson at the start of the campaign. Odegaard had shown flashes of inspiration during his first six months on loan at the club but plenty weren’t convinced that he was worth signing on a permanent basis.
After a somewhat slow start to this season, though, the 23-year-old has begun to show his true worth. A purple patch in front of goal back in December boosted his confidence, and he has become a much more influential figure since then.
Odegaard’s five goals and four assists in 27 appearances don’t tell the full story, with the midfielder playing a pivotal role in the final third of the pitch for Mikel Arteta’s side.