Nigel Winterburn has praised Mikel Arteta’s decision to appoint ‘absolutely incredible’ Martin Odegaard as Arsenal’s new captain.
Odegaard has been handed the captain’s armband on a permanent basis ahead of the 2022-23 season, with Arteta opting for a change in tactic having rotated his captains last term.
The 23-year-old has made a significant impact at the Emirates since his move from Real Madrid in January 2021, playing 60 games for the Gunners and establishing himself as one of their most consistent players.
Odegaard has been the Norway captain since March 2021 and Winterburn believes he was the standout candidate for the role at Arsenal.
‘I’m pleased that they’ve chose somebody and Martin Odegaard is captain of the national team, so it seems a good move,’ Winterburn told Metro.co.uk.
‘I’m hearing that Mikel Arteta likes him as a leader, so I think it’s a good decision. Last season I hated this rotation of captains, it wasn’t for me, and I didn’t agree with it.
‘When I played, I knew who my captain was, Tony Adams was the captain if he was fit, and it was something I never used to worry about.
‘I don’t know whether that’s because things were different, and we had such a strong group of players that we never even gave it a second thought.
‘Tony was a great captain, so it wasn’t a worry for our team, but sometimes that captain role is to just relay things back to your manager.
‘We’ll have to wait and see how it goes with Odegaard, it will be interesting in periods of games when things aren’t going right for Arsenal.
‘Will it be Odegaard’s responsibility to relay what the manager wants to the other players within a game? I would hope that isn’t the case because all of the players should be big enough to make their own decisions.
‘But I am pleased that this debate is over around the captaincy. Mikel Arteta has made that choice, we’ve chosen Odegaard and if anything for the player it’s motivation to keep them at a high level of performance.
‘When he’s playing really well, his ability is absolutely incredible. All I can say is let’s wait and see if there are any differences in his game, I’ve said before that for myself when I was captain, I didn’t do anything differently.
‘You don’t need to be more vocal; you just have to perform exactly the same way.
‘If a player needs telling something, then you shouldn’t have to tell them because you’re captain, any player can have a word with their team mates if something isn’t quite going right on the pitch.
‘I think that should happen from 1 to 11 anyway, but I am pleased that we finally have a set captain.’
Arsenal will look to improve on last season’s fifth-place finish during the 2022-23 campaign, which starts on Friday when the Gunners visit Crystal Palace.
Arteta has welcomed the likes of Gabriel Jesus, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Fabio Vieira to Arsenal this summer and Winterburn has been impressed by his former club’s transfer business.
‘I’ve been pleased so far, obviously it’s been a good pre-season for Arsenal,’ the ex-defender said on behalf of FreeSuperTips.
‘I think in Jesus and Zinchenko, they’ve got players coming from a club with a winning mentality which is always a good thing to have in your squad.
‘I think that is definitely going to strengthen the squad and they’ve looked good in pre-season. Now it’s a case of taking it forward into the first few games of the season.
‘As I said in my commentary at the weekend, there’s been some very strong performances in pre-season, but unfortunately, they count for nothing if you lose your first league game.
‘That’s exactly as I see it, so I think the first game on Friday night is a big test for Arsenal.’
Winterburn, who made more than 500 appearances for Arsenal, has also teased at more new signings at the Emirates before the transfer deadline on September 1.
Asked about the speculation linking Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans with a move to north London, Winterburn said: ‘That’s been a transfer that has been spoken about for a long time, so I don’t know whether it’s realistic anymore or if it will happen.
‘I do feel that central midfield is an area that Arsenal still needs to look at. On the other hand, I do think Zinchenko can play in that position so I don’t know whether Arsenal might feel the transfer window is shut for them.
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