Remember Martin Odegaard? As it turns out, writing him off at 18 years old might have been a mistake.
The 20-year-old (yes, really) Norwegian midfielder had already scored twice (and played ever minute) in Real Sociedad’s still-young La Liga campaign ahead of Thursday’s home bout with Alaves. Sociedad cruised to a 3-0 victory to go second in the league table and Odegaard, who’s still being loaned out by Real Madrid in the hopes he eventually delivers on his seemingly limitless potential, put on a bit of a show.
First, there was the nutmeg. Then, there was the 25-yard diagonal through ball to split four defenders before stopping the ball on a dime just out of reach of goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco, so Mikel Oyarzabal could swoop in and touch it home a fraction of a second before Pacheco arrived.
Odegaard was never short on the flash and flair — the “wow” factor — but he rarely came delivered the end product which comes from working within the confines of the team setup, while also still managing to turn heads and drop jaws. Sure, six games is a dangerously small sample size, but Odegaard appears to have fully bought into what manager Imanol Alguacil demands of him, and that’s a thoroughly welcome development for the rest of us.