Arsenal midfielder Martin Odegaard’s recent team meeting worked a treat after inspiring Norway to a 5-1 win over Gibraltar – with star striker Erling Haaland netting a hat-trick
Martin Odegaard’s recent team meeting paid dividends as Norway thumped Gibraltar 5-1 on Tuesday night thanks to a hat-trick from Erling Haaland.
Haaland was joined on the scoresheet by ex- Crystal Palace striker Alexander Sorloth and Kristian Thorstvedt as Norway got their World Cup qualifying campaign back on track.
Odegaard arranged an emergency meeting earlier this year following a string of worrying performances.
The 22-year-old was only appointed as captain back in March but a disappointing defeat to Turkey and an unconvincing 1-0 friendly win over minnows Luxembourg had alarm bells ringing.
The Arsenal midfielder has stepped up to inspire his country’s recent turnaround in form.
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Haaland’s impressive treble on Tuesday night was an emphatic response to his captain’s rallying call.
The 21-year-old now has 11 goals in eight games for club and country after an electric start to the Bundesliga season with Borussia Dortmund.
Boss Stale Solbakken, formerly of Wolves, will hope that the firepower of Haaland and the leadership of Odegaard can inspire them to a brighter future.
The Premier League duo are two of Norway’s top performers and much of their success – both now and in the future – will hinge on them.
Norway are looking to bounce back after failing to qualify for Euro 2020 and are currently sat second in Group G, level on points with the Netherlands.
Odegaard opened up to TV2 on the meeting that has seemingly turned Norway’s fortunes around after they were criticised by Stolebakken earlier this year.
“We spoke completely freely and openly,” said Odegaard. “Everyone got to air what they had on their minds.
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“We have played many big matches in recent years, but have not managed to solve it optimally all the time. We thought it was good to have a chat about how we avoid making new mistakes.
“We have played many important matches where we have subsequently come and said that we should do this and that.
“This time we thought it was okay that we got to air everything in advance. It was not something revolutionary, we really just had a chat.
“It was really about what has happened over several years. At least since I joined the national team, we have not been quite where we should be during big matches. I feel the response after the chat was very good.”
Odegaard’s impressive leadership skills will come as a boost to club boss Mikel Arteta.
The Gunners have looked rudderless in the opening weeks of the new Premier League campaign and desperately need players to step up and be counted.
After three straight defeats, in which Arsenal have failed to score, Arteta faces a crunch month of fixtures which kicks off with the visit of 19th placed Norwich City on Saturday.