There’s something just a little bit special about 15 year old Martin Ødegaard. The boy dubbed ‘The New Messi’ in Norway and the youngest ever player to compete in European Championship Qualifying, it is no surprise many of Europe’s top clubs are chasing his signature. Yesterday it was revealed that Liverpool had offered Ødegaard a trial over Christmas, adding to the offers already received from Manchester United and Ajax.
However that might not be enough to sign the outrageously talented international, as he stated in a 2013 interview with Norway’s TV2 his admiration for Bayern Munich, “They won the Champions League so they’re the best team in the world”.
After making his debut for Tippeligaen side Strømsgodset IF in April he garnered much media attention throughout the country, and was being tipped for super-stardom as early as July when he reportedly underwent a trial at current Champions League holders Real Madrid. The media hype reached it’s peak after Ødegaard made his Norway debut in last month’s 2-1 win over Bulgaria, with speculation on his future destination going into overdrive.
Current Celtic manager Ronny Deila brought the midfielder into the Strømsgodset first team and claimed “Martin’s never stopped surprising me”. The manager was quick to laud his maturity off the pitch as well; “You can see his mentality. In press conferences, he talks like he is 35-years-old and he’s calm. He’s not just a natural football talent, he’s very bright”.
One thing that is particularly impressive about the ability of the midfielder is his maturity and vision with the ball. Many young players can showcase their dribbling abilities and sublime skills but few have the ability to consistently produce an end product. This is what makes the prodigy such an exciting talent, he has already made 23 appearances (15 starts) for his club, scoring 5 goals and contributing 6 assists. He also received high praise from international team-mate and former Blackburn Rovers winger Morten Gamst-Pedersen “For his age he is unbelievable – his knowledge of the game is unbelievable and his technical skills are fantastic“.
For such a young talent it is important that he keeps his feet on the ground and develops, a fact acknowledged by the player himself “If you get carried away now, you won’t get far in 10 years, ‘I’m supposed to be at my best then, not now. That I know.”
If you haven’t seen him play yet you might want to check this out.