With Martin Odegaard’s new contract announced just 30 minutes ahead of Mikel Arteta’s pre-Tottenham Hotspur press conference, the boss was in high spirits when he faced the media at London Colney on Friday morning.
It’s not just about the technical ability that Martin brings to the team on the pitch, but also his likeable character and personality as a leader off of it.
“I think he has a really good balance,” Mikel explained. “You notice him around the building all the time because he’s doing all the right things that he needs. I think he’s quite funny and a really likeable person, so committed and I’m really, really happy to have him as a captain.
“At a very early age he had huge expectations. He made his debut with the national team as well when he was 15 or 16 and has played for five different teams in three different countries in that period. That’s a lot for someone to take, but I think you are made of the experiences and the journeys that you go through.
“Martin is the player that he is today at that age because of what he has been through in the last four or five years. That’s what is making the player and the person he is today. We are really happy that he’s found home.”
Regarding his new contract, Mikel added: “It’s great news for the club, great news for the team, I’m really happy for him as well because he really deserves that.
“It just shows that there are many ways to make it and many pathways to arrive where you want. In the end it’s about finding a place where you feel comfortable, where you feel valued and you can express your talent. I think he’s found that place. He’s loved by everybody, respected by everybody and he fully deserves what he’s doing.
“We don’t know [how much better he can get]. They don’t have to look for a ceiling. They have to look to be better every single day, be humble enough to admit there is still a big room (for improvement) for them. That’s one thing you can do individually every day, which I think he does.
“The other thing is his contribution to all the players that you have around you. When you have players that have the qualities to make you better, that’s a huge bonus. So I think you are as good as your team, and the players he has around him elevates his qualities, and that’s why he’s better and better.”
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