Martin Ødegaard, the 15-year-old Norwegian football sensation, told reporters in his typically humble style that he thought it was “nice” and “motivating” to be chosen to play in another match for the men’s national football team. This match, though, means he’ll be the youngest ever to play in a qualifier for the European Championships.
Ødegaard said he didn’t think he’ll be allowed to play from the start. “I just look forward to get to play football,” he said.
The match next Friday will pit Norway against Malta and in Malta. He’ll also play in a match for the national team (landslaget) against Bulgaria on October 13, back on home turf at Ullevaal Stadium in Oslo.
Coach Per-Mathias Høgmo said it wasn’t a theme any longer that Ødegaard is so young. He’s good enough to play on the national squad and then age doesn’t matter, according to Høgmo.
“He’s been consistently good over time and a player who can deliver goals,” Høgmo told newspaper Dagsavisen. He played earlier on a national match against the United Arab Emirates in Stavanger, but that wasn’t a Euro2016 qualifier.
Høgmo dropped Ødegaard in Norway’s first Euro qualifier against England at Wembley Stadium in London and lost. Ødegaard, who plays professionally for Strømsgodset in Drammen, was injured when Norway later met Italy, otherwise he’d been expected to be included.
Now Høgmo expects Norway to dominate the match against Malta in Valletta and do well against Bulgaria. “He’s very competent,” Høgmo said of the young player.