Arsenal legend Martin Keown admits he has ‘reservations’ over Martin Odegaard taking No10 role from Emile Smith Rowe

MARTIN KEOWN has 'reservations' over Martin Odegaard playing the No10 role ahead of Emile Smith Rowe.

Odegaard started behind the striker as the Gunners were held to a 1-1 draw with Benfica in the Europa League.

As a result, rising star Smith Rowe was forced out wide and Nicolas Pepe was dropped to the bench.

But Keown thinks Real Madrid loanee Odegaard has a lot to prove until he secures the No10 spot for good.

The 54-year-old told BT Sport: "A lot of the problems for the Arsenal team is finding that spare player.

"It's been Smith Rowe in the recent run. Odegaard has been given the luxury of playing in there.

"We're still waiting to see, I think there's a player under there but he's not played much football for Real Madrid, maybe seven or eight games this season, maybe a bit short of fitness.

"But if you don't give him the ball you can't see what he's capable of, but there were moments when he had the ball, good passes.

"He does really well for the goal, he's a player they want to try and build around."

Before he added: "The reservations I have is Smith Rowe was playing especially well in that position.


"Now, perhaps he [Arteta] didn't feel he was getting enough from [Nicolas] Pepe defensively so Smith Rowe's gone into that position.

"Now you've got Saka and Smith Rowe in wide positions.

"They have really good movement, tuck inside nicely, they give that space for the full-backs to get wide and they know when to press.

"But maybe they lose a little bit, for the time being, until Odegaard is ready to match speed. There were glimpses of really good play."

Odegaard put in a promising display but the Gunners wasted a handful of chances against Benfica.

Pizzi scored from the penalty spot to give the home side the lead before Bukayo Saka bagged the equaliser.

Tony Adams has hit out the club for signing Odegaard instead of prioritising defenders.

And the 22-year-old has reportedly upset Real Madrid for failing to confirm that his future lies there.

He said: "You never know what happens, but first of all my focus is about the rest of the season.

"Hopefully (I will) help the team, and then we’ll see what happens."

He has made three appearances in the Premier League this season, but remains without a goal or an assist.


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