Danny Murphy reckons Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard should be in with a shout of winning the Premier League Player of the Season.
The Norwegian is enjoying a brilliant season for the Gunners, who are locked in a fight with Manchester City to win the Premier League.
Having been handed the captaincy by Mikel Arteta, the playmaker has led by example at the Emirates.
And Murpy believes the 24-year-old has flown “under the radar” compared to some of his teammates, and deserves recognition for the role he’s played in their title charge.
“I’m actually going to throw one out there. I think the biggest impact on any team is Odegaard,” he told Rio Ferdinand’s YouTube channel.
“I think what he has done, he knits together them. There’s so many games where I’ve seen Arsenal not quite at it, and he’s the one. He’s the one that takes the ball in dangerous areas and tries those passes: “I’m going to make that pass”.
“Some of his passing, his disguised passing splitting the defence, he’s the one that takes responsibility. Saka could come into that conversation. I get it. But he plays wider.
“In the middle of the park, that’s where you have to have the most balls to keep getting on the ball. He has been in sensational form. And so many times I watch him and I think woah, what another performance.
“Now it’s become expected. Saka’s getting all the headlines. Martinelli did early on. When they talk about the midfield of Arsenal, it’s Partey’s great, Xhaka’s done well. I think he goes under the radar.”
Jamie Redknapp made a case last month for Odegaard being the best midfielder in the Premier League.
Redknapp said: “Right now he’s number one. There’s nobody [better].
“Normally we would say Kevin De Bruyne is the best midfield player, not just in the Premier League but the world. But something isn’t quite right. He isn’t playing as many games as he’d like.
“But Odegaard does this thing where – all great players possess it – it’s like time stands still when he has the ball.
“Most players [would rush the shot today], especially midfield players as we’re not used to getting in those situations.
“But the calmness that he possesses, he’s scored four or five goals like that with that left foot. He’s the captain, he’s the leader.
“Yeah, for me he’s number one [in the Premier League]. And he’s leading that team.
“The other thing he does as well, when he hasn’t got the ball he goes and presses it. He’s the first one, the first point of defence, he goes and presses and then all of a sudden it catches. He does it so well.”
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