One of the major roles of any captain is to help bring a team together. Whether leading by example on the pitch, representing your teammates in meetings, or by being the voice of the club through media work, the privilege of leadership brings plenty of responsibilities.
For Martin Odegaard however, it’s a part of the job that comes naturally. Used to being the focal point of his team from a very young age, he relishes the role of leader whenever he steps onto the pitch. Away from matchday too, captaining a football club is increasingly a 24/7 position, encompassing various different roles.
But although Martin started his first-team career as a 15-year-old, and was marked out as a rising star even before he joined Stromsgodset at the age of 10, he didn’t have any experience of captaincy at that young age.
“The first team I ever played for was my local side, Drammen Strong,” Martin explains. “I was one of the talented ones I would say, but there were a few of us. In fact, me and one other guy stood out, my best mate actually.
He played until the under-19s age group, at the same club as me where I turned professional, Stromsgodset, but then he stopped after that. He carried on playing, but only for fun, not as a professional, but he was a good player when we were young. We are still in touch now, he’s my best mate so I speak to him all the time.”
But despite attracting national headlines at Drammen Strong, while still just six or seven, and clearly a major player at the club, he was never handed the armband.
“No, I was never captain at that first club,” he reveals. “It’s a funny story really because my dad was the coach, and he would always change the captain so that everybody had a turn and got to experience it. But he would never pick me for it!
“It was because I was his son that he didn’t choose me. So every other player did it, and not me. To be honest I didn’t mind, I didn’t especially want to be captain, it wasn’t really important to me. But now I think it’s funny that he always changed captain, but it was never me!”