In The Spotlight Before FM15 is Norwegian Wonderkid Martin Ødegaard
In this third version of our “In The Spotlight” series Passion4FM hands you all you need to know about the hot prospect Martin Ødegaard – the next Football Manager 2015 Wonderkid. Passion4FM’s In the Spotlight series took a closer look at the star of the UEFA European Under-17 Championship Dutch Steven Bergwijn before our summer vacation, now we’re back with a new promising talent to buy in Football Manager 2015.
I assume the name isn’t a surprise anymore, but Martin Ødegaard might be one of the most talented wonderkids in Europe at the moment. Only 15 years old he has managed to achieve something anyone most only dream about. Now I’d like to take a closer look at Martin Ødegaard so you can get familiar with the next Football Manager 2015 wonderkid and how his FM15 player profile can look like.
Who is the Norwegian promising young talent Martin Ødegaard?
Martin Ødegaard is an attacking midfielder playing for Strømsgodset in the Norwegian Tippeligaen. Martin Ødegaard was born 17.12.1998 (15 years old) in Drammen, which makes him a local Strømsgodset player. The young talent eventually signed a professional contract with Strømsgodset in May 2014 keeping him at Marienlyst stadion until 31.12.2015. He seems to have become one of the most thrilling Football Manager 2015 wonderkids emerging at the moment.
I became aware of the then promising talent in December 2013 when Manchester United and Bayern Munich invited him for a weekly training spell. The 14 year old youngster was still part of the junior team prior to the Tippeligaen 2014 start and only those closely following Norwegian football and some local newspapers knew of him. By featuring in an unimportant pre-season friendly, Martin Ødegaard was one of many junior players who was given playtime. But in fact he had done it before as I later recalled; at the age of only 13(!) years old he had featured with the first team squad of Strømsgodset in a friendly against Mjøndalen (where his father is the assistant manager) the year before (2012). The son of the former Strømsgodset player Hans Erik Ødegaard (241 apps / 52 goals) has made an impressive impact on the Norwegian Tippeligaen 2014. Is Martin Ødegaard the next Norwegian wonderkid after Mats Møller Dæhli?!
The best clubs in the world have all wanted his services in the past 2 years and all offers and interests have been declined as the Ødegaard family focuses on improving his abilities in safe environments rather than an uncertain future in one of the big football academies in England, Germany, Italy or Spain. It doesn’t mean that Martin would never move abroad, but definitely not now as he’s yet to finish high school.
Instead, the Norwegian Wonderkid Martin Ødegaard, received his Tippeligaen debut against Ålesund on 13th of April 2014 coming in as substitute in the 72nd minute. He made his mark already in his debut serving Thomas Sørum with a great assist. He became the youngest ever Tippeligaen debutant at the age of 15 years and 118 days. It should take only around a month before he scores his first ever Tippeligaen goal. On 16th of May 2014, in the 90th minute at the age of 15 years and 151 days, he became the youngest ever Tippeligaen goalscorer by finding the net with a powerful shot from 16 metres.
This happened before the end of the Summer Transfer Window 2014. I must reveal my intentions before this summer was to feature Martin in the potential Football Manager 2015 wonderkid post as few have heard of him, but instead he took matters into his own hands. With a man of the match performance against Sandnes Ulf on 26th of July, Martin Ødegaard scored a typical Thomas Müller goal – by being in the right place at the right time. With his acceleration and direct movement with the ball Martin was fouled in the penalty area in the 75th minute. Despite T. Sørum missing the penalty, he would get his goal 8 minutes later. Yet again, Ødegaard served Sørum with a lovely assist after winning the ball deep into his own half, gaining speed with the ball against Sandnes Ulfs goal in a Cristiano Ronaldo or Gareth Bale fashion – creating a 3 versus 3 situation before laying the ball off calmly to Sørum with a through ball between two opposite defenders in the likes of Andres Iniesta or Lionel Messi.
The impressive performances in the first half of Tippeligaen 2014 raised a discussion and debate whether a 15 year old teenager should deserve a spot in the international friendly squad call-up prior to the important European Qualification match against Antonio Conte’s Italy. Peoples demands were answered as you may know. Not only was he called up but he earned a spot in the starting XI in the international friendly against United Arab Emirates. With 90 minutes in his debut, the now 15 years and 253 days old teenager, made history by becoming the youngest player ever to play for the Norwegian International squad (senior level) by ending Tormod Kjellsens 104 year long record. Despite writing history for the third time in only 4 months, NFF(Norwegian FA) decided to move him down to Norway Under-21s which faced Portugal instead of letting him play under far more pressure against England – in front of a world stage of ‘crazy’ football fans and journalists. He made his International Under-21 debut on 4th of September 2014. Sky seems to be the limit for Martin Ødegaards potential, as he proved to be the best amongst far more experienced players – most of them were 3 to 4 years older than him! With this in mind, lets look at why tens of professional scouts believe Martin Ødegaard may become one of the best Scandinavian players since Michael Laudrup.
Passion4FM’s Scout Report on Martin Ødegaard; Skills and Strengths
Martin Ødegaard is a natural attacking midfielder who has potential to become one of the best Scandinavian players. The left footed youngster can also play as an central midfielder operating more like an advanced playmaker or supporting central midfielder if you’d like a comparison to the familiar player roles of FM14. His modern playing style makes him able to be used as an narrow winger (recommended roles are advanced wing playmaker or inside forward with the ability to cut inside).
The left footed attacking midfielder has excellent technique and what Football Manager 2015 describes as anticipation. Few other youngsters in his age-group show such maturity when it comes to vision and tactical understanding. By using his great positioning, his teammates know that they can always play their way out of the transition zone by finding Martin Ødegaard. Not only is Martin ‘always’ available, but his great first touch allows him to convert the attacking transition quickly by using his vision, creativity and flair.
The player attributes mentioned above are his key strengths. He’s great at finding space and is quick to react on an event by event basis no matter if he needs to control the ball and lead his opponent wide in order to create space in the middle or if he can use his acceleration and speed to cut inside to put pressure on the defenders in a counter attacking situation.
Normally, every teenager with high quickness and technique is most often compared to Lionel Messi. If we are to make the same comparison he can be described as the Norwegian Lionel Messi. Even though I hate to use that phrase. In the 90’s, Norwegian football was most famous for their players who were best without the ball at their feet (read; Øyvind Leonhardsen – the former Rosenborg and Wimbledon player). With the case of Martin Ødegaard you may say that he’s better with the ball at his feet, but I would like to point out his intelligence without it as well. Even though he doesn’t have the same work rate and stamina as Øyvind Leonhardsen who could be all over the pitch, Martin is smarter and has the ability to be at the right place at the right time.
He’s not afraid to use his intelligence or football instinct to retain possession and create chances according to the situation on the field. It’s one of those features that help you dominate on the field and make your teammates better. It seems to me that he doesn’t hav to think where he should play the ball or where he should position himself in order to be available for a pass or a shot in dangerous areas of the field. He just does it, he just suddenly appears where he needs to be – an unique skill which shows us some glimpses of the future of (Norwegian) football players.
In the two latest international matches, Martin Ødegaard has proven to be the main attacking mind. He created chances by defence-splitting passes, intelligent through balls, flick-ons and one twos which dictated the tempo of the attacking play. Coupled with great technique, flair and creativity he possesses also great dribbling abilities and balance which you will see proof of in the video above. While his off the ball movement is rather good, he is even better with the ball at his feet. Sometimes it seems he runs faster with the ball than without it – a feat the Welsh legend Ryan Giggs is famous for.
For his age he is unbelievable – his knowledge of the game is unbelievable and his technical skills are fantastic!
You have to realise he is only 15 years old and he needs time to build up his physique but the potential is unbelievable, I have never seen a player with so much potential.
My wish and final hope is to see Martin Ødegaard and Mats Møller Dæhli playing together in a narrow 4-3-2-1 formation where Dæhli plays more the attacking role while Martin links the hard working midfield 3 and the lone striker. Here I would love to see Martin dropping deep when retaining possession and moving wide in the attacking transition phase while Mats acts like a secondary striker who is more direct and puts more focus on the attacking phase rather than the defensive phase.
The narrow 4-3-2-1 formation could be something close to Drillo’s 4-5-1 formation, which gave us one of the best eras of Norwegian football history. The playing style would be more dynamic without the focus on the ultra-defensive long ball playing style Egil “Drillo” Olsen used, but more focused on the counterpressing style utilized with great effect by Jürgen Klopp as Norwegian football is well-known for their fighting spirit, excellent work rate and great stamina. With Martin and Mats working in tandem we would have two great playmakers who can keep the ball under pressure as both players, but especially Martin, have great composure.
Martin Ødegaard has recorded 3 goals and 5 assists in 16 appearances in the Tippeligaen 2014 for his local club Strømsgodset, but has also debuted for the Norwegian national senior team (1 cap), Norway Under-21 (1 cap) and Norway Under-17 (4 caps). In 2013 he recorded 8 appearances for the Norwegian youth national teams (Under-16 and Under-15).
Martin Ødegaard’s Football Manager 2015 Player Profile?
As Martin Ødegaard were too young to be featured in Football Manager 2015, we have re-created his player profile in our FM15 youth database. You can download the file which adds Martin Ødegaard as an emerging wonderkid in the link above. We will update this database with more promising youngsters in the coming weeks / months.
Download Official Football Manager 2015 Martin Ødegaard Player Profile
Published: 11.11.2014 03.00AM GMT
Location: Steam Workshop
File Size: 16Kb
How did Martin Ødegaard become that good?
You may now wonder what it takes to become as good as Martin Ødegaard? On one hand we can’t hide the fact that the training facilities are far from the standards of the top clubs in Europe. So how has he become so good, so young, especially coming from Norway? In an interview with Hans Erik and Martin in Drammens Tidene they reveal that it comes down to high-quality individual training and lots of it – spending over 20 hours per week on his own (after the team training) working with the ball or working on areas he wants to improve. Martin Ødegaard has dedicated his life to become a world class footballer – but the main foundation behind his ‘unlimited’ potential has proven to be his professional attitude and determination.
We can’t hide the fact that his father has been an important figure in the development of his son. Not only does he know what it takes to become a professional football player but he has also supported his son’s development through mental and physical coaching. While other fathers are mainly focusing on their sons winning their teams football matches, Hans Erik and Martin have been focusing on practice and individual development – practice until you manage it and enhanced focus on technique and positional orientation – getting control of the ball as fast as possible on small surfaces. Hans Erik Ødegaard looks at the key to becoming a good footballer that you must know where your teammates are all the time and improving his sons anticipation and vision has made him one of the most exciting football talents emerging from Norway in my 32 year old life.
Let the case and development of Martin Ødegaard serve as a great example for every youth in the world showing you all that anyone can become as good as they want! I feel it shows that anyone can do it as long as you have the desire and determination to do so, but you need to be prepared to sacrifice some tears, sweat, blood or the few hours you spend over your mobile phone, iPad or PC in order to excel.
In the meantime Martin Ødegaard will definitely be a case which opens the Norwegians (and other smaller countries, leagues and clubs who struggle with increased foreign import and lack of a good national youth development plan similar to what we have seen from in Spain with Barcelona, Belgium with Anderlecht, Germany and Austria to give some examples) eyes on youth development and age-limited training drills. The time for debate is now! We will finish off our scout report about next FM15 wonderkid Martin Ødegaard by quoting his own words taken from his Twitter profile information.
“Don’t just play the game, own it” Martin Ødegaard, Twitter @martinio98
What does it take to produce more players like Martin Ødegaard? Or is he simply a one-in-a-hundred-years case scenario?