Martin Odegaard believes his “amazing” midfield partner Declan Rice is already proving his worth after Arsenal eased into the Champions League knockout stages.
England international Rice, a £105million summer signing from West Ham, was among a host of standout performers as the Gunners secured top spot in Group B with a 6-0 demolition of French club Lens.
Arsenal captain Odegaard has been impressed with the instant impact and consistency of his 24-year-old team-mate, who has been ever-present in the Premier League and Europe this term.
"I love the club and I love what we’re doing, so it’s amazing to be a part of that. I’m excited for what’s to come."
Love that skip
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) November 30, 2023
“It’s brilliant – I think he’s been amazing since he came here,” the Norway international said of Rice.
“Every game he’s showing his qualities. He’s a great player, a great guy, so a great addition to the squad.”
Rice was afforded a rest for the final 15 minutes on Wednesday evening as in-form Arsenal won their pool with a fixture to spare, four days after going top of the Premier League.
Odegaard volleyed home the last of the rampant hosts’ five first-half goals against last season’s Ligue 1 runners-up before Rice’s replacement Jorginho converted a late penalty to complete the rout.
The former Real Madrid playmaker says the Gunners are constantly striving to produce statement performances.
“Every time we play we want to send a message,” said Odegaard.
“Of course, we want to win every time we play and we want to put on performances like this.
“The way we started the game was brilliant. We had complete control of the game with the ball. We played with a really high rhythm and intensity and we were effective in front of goal.
“The last few games we’ve been really good defensively and we wanted to show even more on the ball and to get some more goals as well.
“We did that and we knew what we were playing for and we saw the motivation and the hunger out there.”