Martin Ødegaard hasn’t played a single minute of Real Madrid Castilla’s last two games. And since he has been demoted to the subs’ bench, the team is back winning after a run of four consecutive defeats. It’s clear that while no one doubts his technical ability, it’s not working out for him in Spain’s third tier, the Segunda B. Coach Zinedine Zidane feels that the 16-year-old is highly-talented – a player who gives the impression that something special is going to happen every time he receives the ball. But he doesn’t adapt his game to his team mates and that is why the technical staff have realised that they have no other option but to leave him on the bench for the time being.
Backroom staff feel that with Ødegaard in the side, Castilla play more like a team of 10 than 11 because the rest of the team can never find him out when the team is moving forward, and recently they stopped attempting to pick him out. It’s not so much resentment on behalf of the Castilla team but more a case of the Norwegian continually making the wrong choice. Ødegaard has refused to train with the reserves and only joins in with training sessions on the eve of the team’s games. That’s not enough to click with the other players, or allow everyone in the side the chance to get to know each other.
The newcomer and his father seek refuge in the clause included his contract with Madrid which stipulates that the club must ensure that he trains with the senior squad five days a week. On three occasions, Castilla’s coaching staff have called meetings with the player and his parent to explain the situation and advice him to attend Castilla’s training sessions on a more regular basis. Yet neither Ødegaard nor his father seem to realize that changing tack and taking the advice they’ve been given on board is the right thing to do as the teenager’s progress with Castilla constitutes an essential part of his own development. Regrettably, some players have complained that the teenager “can’t be bothered” with his Castilla team mates and is only interested in being alongside Cristiano Ronaldo. It’s clear that his integration at Madrid would be much easier and far smoother with player of his own age. That’s something which Ødegaard should think about.