Martin Odegaard is in the lineup for Norway, but isn’t cracking the 18 for Real Madrid’s B-Team.
According to AS, it’s not on account of talent — see the 16-year-old’s smiling goal face above — rather an alleged inability to, and/or disinterest in, grow alongside the Real Madrid Castilla players. Reportedly, Odegaard only trains with the reserves on the day before matches, and is missing the chemistry needed to start for Zinedine Zidane’s crew.
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Odegaard’s recruitment involved, essentially, every big name team in Europe. Part of his agreement to join Real Madrid was the ability to train with Carlo Ancelotti’s first team while playing with Castilla, and Odegaard apparently treats his teammates as second-class.
The AS report says Zidane’s Castilla staff thinks the side plays “10 v 11” when Odegaard is in the lineup, and has dropped him from the 18, abiding by recent impressive results without the youngster.
On three occasions, Castilla’s coaching staff have called meetings with the player and his parent to explain the situation and advice him to attend Castilla’s training sessions on a more regular basis. Yet neither Ødegaard nor his father seem to realize that changing tack and taking the advice they’ve been given on board is the right thing to do as the teenager’s progress with Castilla constitutes an essential part of his own development. Regrettably, some players have complained that the teenager “can’t be bothered” with his Castilla team mates and is only interested in being alongside Cristiano Ronaldo. It’s clear that his integration at Madrid would be much easier and far smoother with player of his own age. That’s something which Ødegaard should think about.
It not a huge flashing “bust” sign to hang above Odegaard or anything close to that, but rather a sign of how there’s a teenager growing up under the bright lights of Madrid (the brilliant spotlight chosen by Odegaard and his agent father).
It also should serve as a wake-up call, but with three meetings in the books, perhaps it points to a bigger issue. Time, of course, will tell. And we also don’t know what Ancelotti has advised in terms of training, though presumably it fits in with Zidane’s vision, too.