Rio Ferdinand backtracks over comments about Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard

    Rio Ferdinand backtracks over comments about Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard
    The pundit claimed the armband could weigh heavy on the Norwegian (Pictures: Getty / FIVE)

    Rio Ferdinand has backtracked on comments he made about Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard in which he questioned whether the midfielder would be able to carry the weight of the armband.

    Following the departures of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette earlier this year, the Norway international – who skippers his country – was made Arsenal captain by manager Mikel Arteta.

    But following the Gunners’ first match of the season against Crystal Palace, Ferdinand questioned the decision and suggested the added responsibility could hinder Odegaard.

    Speaking in August, the former Manchester United centre-back said the armband could weigh ‘heavy’ and that ‘it could be a different Odegaard this year’ as a result.

    But the 23-year-old has excelled, netting six times and laying on two assists in the Premier League – with his brace against Wolves on Saturday evening securing all three points in a testing match.

    Ferdinand has now clarified his earlier comments, praising Odegaard’s inspiring performances for Arsenal and insisting he always had faith in his ability to step up.

    Speaking about Arsenal’s win on his Vibe with FIVE YouTube show, Ferdinand began: ‘We spoke with Mikel Arteta about this the other day, about checking the boxes and ticking off certain things that have hindered Arsenal football club over the last probably 10 or 15 years.

    Rio Ferdinand backtracks over comments about Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard
    Odegaard has enjoyed an excellent campaign so far (Picture: Getty)

    ‘Being soft in the centre and being easy to play against sometimes, away games being hit and bullied, and players and fans calling them out – I remember Troy Deeney called them out.

    ‘But right now they’re ticking off those boxes. That game was one where they probably get beat 1-0 in years gone by. But I didn’t have any doubts, I was thinking, “When are they going to score?”

    ‘And I was as pleased as anyone to see Odegaard be the man to step up and have that moment.’

    When it was suggested that Ferdinand had doubted Odegaard’s ability just a few months ago, he responded: ‘We’ve got technical people behind the scenes, can you get that clip up and show what I actually said, I said it “could” be something that weighs heavy on him.

    ‘Whether or not it happens, I didn’t say it would. I said it could. I hoped it wouldn’t, but it could.

    ‘One thing you can’t question with this kid is that he’s been a child superstar, we’ve known about him since he was probably 13 or 14 years old. He is delivering right now, as captain of Arsenal football club.’

    MORE : Mykhaylo Mudryk speaks out on potential Arsenal transfer and sends message to Mikel Arteta

    MORE : Piers Morgan says Arsenal will win the Premier League title if they sign Cristiano Ronaldo in January

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