Raymond Verheijen explains why Martin Odegaard’s talent is ‘going downhill’

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Martin Odegaard has been strongly linked with a loan move to French side Rennes earlier this month before it was discovered that FIFA prohibits any player under the age of 18 from securing a temporary move to a foreign club.

West Ham, Hamburg and Bayer Leverkusen had also contacted Real Madrid over the 17-year-old’s availability, but Odegaard will be staying put at the Bernabeu until at least January - the Norway international turns 18 on December 17 - unless Los Blancos can organise a loan move to a Spanish club for the talented playmaker.

Odegaard signed for Real Madrid in January 2015, despite interest from a host of other top European clubs, because he and his father felt it was the best place for him to continue his development.


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However, the left-footed attacking midfielder has made just one competitive first-team appearance for Real Madrid - in the 7-3 win over Getafe at the end of the 2014-15 campaign - and hasn’t settled particularly well with the Spanish giants.

Carlo Ancelotti, who handed Odegaard his debut, would later confess that he was forced to play the Norwegian in that fixture as a “PR exercise”.

The Italian didn’t feel that Odegaard was anywhere close to being ready for the Real Madrid first team and his successors, Rafael Benitez and now Zinedine Zidane, are clearly in agreement.

Verheijen explains why Odegaard is struggling

Odegaard’s career is at serious risk of stalling and Raymond Verheijen, the outspoken Dutch fitness coach, believes part of the problem is that he’s already running out of steam due to too many training sessions as a youngster.

“Looking forward to my trip to Oslo, Norway later this week. Sorry to see the career of Norwegian top talent Martin Ødegaard going downhill,” Verheijen wrote.

“At the age of 15 Martin Ødegaard was considered to be one of the best talents in the world. But his development seems to slow down at age 17.

“This is a typical pattern for talented players who are overtrained at a young age. They peak too early and run out of steam before age 20.

“The fact that Martin Ødegaard was totally overtrained as a kid with 8-10 sessions per week might be the reason why is only 1,76m at age 17.

“It was scientifically proven that overtraining youth players means they do not have enough energy left to grow & develop a growth deficiency.

“Despite the fact that he was totally overtrained as a youth player, Martin Ødegaard made the step from Norway to Real Madrid at age 15.

“In other words was he a top talent at age 15 BECAUSE or DESPITE of 8-10 training sessions/week. And why is he already fading away at age 17?

“Hopefully, the next generation of coaches will learn from the sad mistakes that have been made with Norwegian top talent Martin Ødegaard.”

Is Raymond Verheijen right about Martin Odegaard? Will the Norwegian ever fulfil his immense potential? Have your say by leaving a comment below.

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Zinedine Zidane
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