Mikel Arteta masterstroke hailed as Redknapp names Arsenals manager on the pitch

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Jamie Redknapp has labelled Mikel Arteta’s decision to give Martin Odegaard the captain’s armband a “masterstroke”. Odegaard has skippered Arsenal for the last four matches, with Alexandre Lacazette out of the starting XI, and Redknapp has labelled the midfielder as Gunners’ “manager on the pitch”.

Arsenal have won three of those games, including a hard-fought 2-1 victory at West Ham on Sunday. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was stripped of the captaincy in December before leaving the club a month later.

Lacazette has worn the armband since, with Kieran Tierney and Granit Xhaka also sharing the duties. But Odegaard has been given the responsibility by Arteta in recent weeks.

Redknapp is a big fan of the Norway star as a player. And he thinks Arteta has solved a long-standing captaincy issue at the Emirates.

Redknapp said on Sky Sports: “By bringing him into the team, they might have stumbled across a problem that’s caused Arsenal for a few years, the captaincy. Xhaka was captain for a while, didn’t really work, [then] Aubameyang, then they gave it to Lacazette.

“It was almost that no-one wanted to be. But giving it to Odegaard, it feels right for me.

“He may not be the most vocal but when you watch him play, he organises people, he plays the right pass. He’s a lovely player to watch.

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“You can see from Mikel Arteta’s point of view, he’s almost his manager on the pitch. It might be one where, he’s there for the future, he’s a fantastic player, good type of guy as well. It’s a masterstroke from Arteta.”

Former Arsenal striker Alan Smith believes Odegaard has proved people wrong since his arrival from Real Madrid last summer. Smith has backed the midfielder to be central to Arsenal’s success in the coming years.

He said: “I don’t think there’s many players like him around. You compare him to someone like Christian Eriksen.

“He’s somebody that can make something happen, he takes responsibility and that’s quite rare for someone so young. I know a lot of Arsenal fans were asking if they want him back, but there’s not many like him and he’s only going to get better.

“It’s the youngest side and they are going to grow together and he’s going to be the centre of it all.” The win over West Ham took Arsenal back above Spurs into fourth in the Premier League.

A visit from Leeds is next up for Arteta’s side next Sunday.

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