When Martin Odegaard joined Arsenal on loan from Real Madrid, he revealed that Cesc Fabregas was one of his Premier League idols.
“I liked his ideas, the way he sees football and also the way he is,” said the Norwegian.
“The way he controls the game, the way he dictated the game, his ability to give assists and also score goals.
“Everything about his game. I tried to learn as much as possible when I grew up watching him. He was the top player.”
As we approach the two-year anniversary of those quotes, Odegaard has done much to suggest he’s a perfect student of Fabrgeas’ game.
Not only has he established himself as the beating heart of Arsenal’s midfield, he’s also inherited the captain’s armband at a young age.
For his part, Fabregas, who was at the Emirates on Saturday providing analysis of the north London derby for BT Sport, is happy to see his predecessor flourishing.
“I like his style, his intelligence, the way he moves and finds always these little pockets where you can make the difference,” said Cesc.
“In football nowadays you don’t have a lot of space and he’s very tricky and has a good eye for the final ball.
“Also, a lot of responsibility. He was 15 when he made his debut for Norway, he’s the captain of Norway. Now a very young captain of Arsenal. It’s not an easy task for him and he’s responding very well. I’m very happy for him.
“He reminds me a little bit of me when I took the armband at 21. It’s not easy. It’s a big, big club.”
Nice words from Cesc which Odegaard will no doubt be chuffed to hear.
After the win over Sp*rs, the Norwegian spoke bullishly about Arsenal’s ambitions for the rest of the season. Still top of the table after eight games, he believes the Gunners should be taken seriously by the rest of the league.
“We’ve started out very well. Things are flowing well. We’re showing that we have to be taken into account this season, and it feels good,” he told compatriot Jan Age Fjortoft in a post-game interview on Viaplay Fotball.
“I feel like we’re growing in every way. We have young players taking up more space [on the team], getting more experience. I feel like that’s showing now. And it’s sweet to show it in a big game. As I said, we showed [with the win over Sp*rs] that we’ll be up there on the league table fighting.
He added: “Our feet aren’t leaving the ground. There’s a lot of the season left. There are a couple of other good teams up there as well, so that’ll be tough. We’ll fight every game as if it’s the last one we’re playing, and then we’ll see how it ends up.”