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Mikel Arteta hints at Arsenal’s next captain and praises squad’s leadership

Arsenal have picked up back-to-back Premier League wins, helping to get their season back on track after three successive defeats to start the new campaign

MIkel Arteta previews AFC Wimbledon clash

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has suggeste summer signing Martin Odegaard has the capacity to be the club’s next captain after impressing since his arrival.

Odegaard was one of six players to sign during the most recent transfer window, with all of those arrivals under the age of 24.

That led to criticism from some quarters, with a feeling that much of their £150million transfer spend wouldn’t reap immediate rewards.

The Gunners transfer committee made a conscious effort to try and create a more youthful side that can lay the foundations for success in the future.

In the here and now, Arsenal have registered timely back-to-back Premier League wins after losing their first three to start the season.

Mikel Arteta’s side have earned valuable back-to-back Premier League wins


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In their most recent outing, against Burnley at Turf Moor, it was Odegaard that struck the decisive blow, curling in a sumptuous free-kick in the 1-0 win.

But it wasn’t just his goal that impressed Arteta, with the Spaniard pointing towards the leadership qualities he has already displayed.

“I think we are building some leadership in the group,” Arteta explained. “It’s a really young group, with a lot of players under 23.

“Martin is the captain of the national team and Sambi [Lokonga] was the captain at Anderlecht.

“Martin has this capacity to do that with his talent, taking the ball in moments where others probably refuse to, but as well with his attitude, his rhythm and the way he presses and puts people under pressure.”

Arteta also singled out the former Real Madrid star for his work off-the-ball as the Gunners battled their way to a valuable victory in hostile conditions.

Martin Odegaard netted the winner against Burnley and has impressed the Arsenal boss with his leadership qualities

Arteta continued: “He’s probably the first to do it [those defensive responsibilities]. I was really impressed with Auba [Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang] as well – I think his rhythm and high pressing was fantastic.

“It was a real commitment and purpose because you can go to try and win the ball or put pressure [on] – but you can tell when you are really doing it or when you’ve been told to do it.

“There was a big meaning behind it and when you go to places like that, when you are having difficult moments and you want to start to get results, I think you have to go to those basics and have every single player do that, even the ones that came on.

“I think they were superb, lifted the momentum of the team and took us to a different level. I think that’s really important.”

Arsenal face AFC Wimbledon in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, before attention turns towards Tottenham and this weekend’s north London derby.

But Arteta, who is set to rotate his squad, has warned those that are involved, that they mustn’t look beyond the midweek cup clash.

“Focus. Focus, demand the highest standards, prepare the same way or even better,” he declared.

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