The Norwegian Martin Odegaard is vastly experienced for a 23 year-old, having made his debut for the Norway senior side before his 16th birthday. He started of with Strømsgodset in his home country before being sensationally signed by Real Madrid less than a year later.
He spent a couple of years on loan in Holland and then a year back in Spain with Real Sociedad, before finally being nabbed on loan by Mikel Arteta a year ago.
So you could say he has played in a lot of stadiums over the years, but like Josh Kroenke, he thinks the Arsenal fans are a class apart. “The atmosphere in England is different to anywhere else I’ve played,” he told Arsenal.com. “I love the passion from the fans here – how much they care about football and their own team, and also the connection they have with the club. There are lots of traditions here in English football that I love and I think it’s a great place to play.”
“Well it’s true that sometimes it can be more difficult in stadiums with a big atmosphere. That’s the good thing about playing at home, you know the fans will support you, give you energy and make it harder for the other team. So for sure it can be more difficult playing away, when the fans are pushing for their team, whistling you and all that kind of thing.
“It can affect you in the game, but at the same time it’s something I really like about football. The fans are such a big part of the sport, you feel that energy when you are playing the game and that’s really cool. There’s nothing like it when you feel that backing from your own fans.”
“I’ve met plenty of fans when I’ve been out to eat or things like that,” he continued.
“It’s easy to see the interest people have, and that they really, really care about the team. It’s probably more on social media though than in public – Arsenal are pretty big on social media!
“I get a lot of messages, especially when I was about to sign here. The fans were really pushing for me to come, they were messaging me all the time, messaging my family and everything! It was something new to me, sometimes it can be a bit much, but in general I think it just shows the passion they have and how much they care.”
Considering that Odegaard has played at the Bernabeau, that is high praise for Arsenal fans, and if you look at our results this season at the Emirates, what further proof would you need that the home fans make a massive difference to the players on the pitch.
And long may it continue…
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