Odegaard: 'I have to do it my way'

Newly-appointed captain Martin Odegaard believes we will use last season’s disappointment of missing out on the top four to our advantage, coming back ‘hungry and ready’ in 2022/23.

We kick off the new Premier League campaign away to Crystal Palace tonight, and the skipper is expecting to see a strong response from the new-look Gunners side.

Odegaard also spoke about his pride at taking the armband full time, how the new signings are settling in, the challenge posed by Palace in the opener, and how he tried to convince his compatriot Erling Haaland to join him at the Emirates.

Watch the interview above, or read below for a full transcript:

On being named captain…

It sounds good and feels good. It’s obviously a big honour to captain such a big club. I feel very lucky and happy to do that. I think a lot of people were talking about it, but I didn’t really think about it too much myself. But then he [Arteta} asked me last week if I wanted to do it and of course I was happy to do it.

He just asked what I felt about it. He wanted me to be the captain, there was a little conversation there about it and that should be between me and him. He gave me some advice about it, it was a good chat.

On feeling pressure…

I don’t feel any special pressure with it. Obviously there’s a little bit more responsibility, but I think I will do a lot of the same things. I always try to do my best for the team. I’m not going to change too much just because it’s a permanent thing now.

I will do the same things and obviously when he wants me to be the captain I’ve done something right so keep going in that direction, maybe learn and grow a bit with time. But I have to do it my way and that’s what I will try to do. I enjoy the responsibility and hopefully, I can do it in a good way.

On the new arrivals settling in…

I think all of them have brought something good to the team. Some of them have been injured and not played too much, but obviously, Gabriel Jesus and Alex [Zinchenko] played the last game. Saliba has been playing a lot now too. They have all done really well.

Gabby and Alex, coming from Man City, are used to winning trophies and playing for the best teams in the world for a few years, they bring that experience and they know what it takes to win in this country. I think that’s a good thing for us to get players with that experience as well. Of course, the quality they have as well is tops, so they have been good.

On how important the winning mentality is in the dressing room…

I think it’s important, it’s always an area to improve for everyone, you can always be better in that way. As I said they have that experience and hopefully they can share with us what it takes to win in this country. That’s where we want to be as a team, to fight for trophies, titles, be at the top. That’s where the club should be so that’s where we want to get to.

On whether the top four is the target…

Yeah of course it’s a big thing for us. It was last year as well, and towards the end we had it in our hands and then we lost it. That was a hard one for us, everyone was really disappointed and frustrated with how we ended the season. I think you will see a hungry and ready Arsenal team to come back and do it this year. That’s where the club should be and that’s the goal.

Martin Odegaard

On continuing the pre-season form…

I think the way we have played, especially in the last two games against Chelsea and Sevilla, we have looked really strong. The intensity we have played with, and the speed we play football is good. Obviously, it’s just pre-season, so we have to stay calm, keep working hard and now is when it really starts. We have to be ready for Friday. It’s a tough game, like all the games in this league, so we have to be ready.

On Crystal Palace’s strengths…

It's always hard to say before the season, but when we played them last year they were really physical, played with a lot of intensity, and they have exciting players up front. With Zaha and the strikers, it’s a dangerous team so we have to be ready for that. The main thing for us is to focus on ourselves, play our game and be ready for the fight as well. That’s important.

On how much they will miss Connor Gallagher…

We will see, I haven’t watched them too much to be honest in the summer, but he’s a great player so every team will miss a player like him. We will see but I’m sure they will have a good team this year anyway.

On what the team took from the two meetings with Palace last season…

I think we learnt a lot. I think that’s what it’s like playing in the Premier League, every game is tough, every game is a little bit different and you have to be able to adapt to the game and be able to play football in different ways. You have to earn your right to play on the pitch and we are going to be ready for that.

On trying to convince Haaland to join us instead of Manchester City…

I was working [on it]! I sent him all the time Arsenal fans tagging me and him together in pictures so I sent them all the time, but it didn’t help! I’m happy for him, it’s nice to have him in England and I’m sure he will be a huge success for them.

I speak a lot with him. We are quite close friends and we have a little group chat with some of the guys from the national team, so we speak every now and then. I’m sure he doesn’t need too much advice. He’s a great player, a great person. His mind is in the right place, so I’m sure he will be fine.

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