Starlet is a word that is thrown around far too often and with far too much gay abandon when it comes to talented youngsters.
Any young player who shows a consistent level of play at that belies their tender years is often lumped with the term, a term that brings with it much added expectation. That is what has happened before, and it is definitely what has happened to Norwegian youngster Martin Ødegaard.
The now 19-year-old was a talented youngster who was courted by many of Europe’s top sides when making the breakthrough into the full Norwegian national side at the unheard of age of just 15. At the time he was already on the radar of big clubs, thanks to his displays for Strømdgodset, for whom he signed from Drammen Strong and broke into their first-team as a 13-year-old.
This all brought about a big move for the youngster, Ødegaard joining Real Madrid as a 17-year-old for a fee of around £2.5million in January 2015. Initially signed for Real Madrid Castilla, Los Blancos’ reserve side, there was hope that he’d develop into a future Galactico for the first-team.
That hope hasn’t materialised, despite Ødegaard playing 62 games (five goals/eight assists) for the reserves this experience has only resulted in two games for Real Madrid proper – one 32 minute La Liga appearance back in 2015 and a Copa del Rey game in 2016.
He has been on an 18-month loan deal to Dutch side Heerenveen, featuring 43 times (three goals/five assists) for the Eredivisie side, and has now returned to Madrid. Now the Mirror’s Tom Hopkinson says that Los Blancos are ready to loan him out again, the Sky Bet Championship being his intended stopping point.
Citing that Real Madrid will be looking to increase the standard of his performances, Hopkinson says they will be “anxious that he plays under the pressure of performing on a big stage.” Hopkinson goes on to say that “Madrid are looking to expose the teenager to a tougher brand of football” and that this has led to the fact that “English clubs have been alerted to the possibility of taking him on loan.”
Further into the article Championship sides Aston Villa and Derby County are ‘linked’ with the justification being that the Villans “will invest heavily in the loan market” and that the Rams’ boss Frank Lampard “has shown he will take a punt on youth” at the club.