Martin Odegaard explains Oleksandr Zinchenko captaincy decision

Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard has revealed that giving Oleksandr Zinchenko the armband for Saturday’s Premier League over Leicester a show of support for the Ukrainian following the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of his homeland.

Odegaard was appointed Arsenal captain in the summer but spoke to manager Mikel Arteta on Friday to talk about the possibility of handing it to Zinchenko this weekend.

“I spoke to some people in the club and then I went to Mikel and suggested it for [Zinchenko]. It was a nice thing to do to show him the support. It’s been a year now, too long, it’s a very difficult situation for him I know and very emotional,” Odegaard explained.

“It was a good thing to do to show our support. I spoke to him this morning, asked if he was comfortable doing it.”

Odegaard went on to praise Zinchenko for his impact since joining from Manchester City last summer, revealing that he takes on a leadership role within the squad anyway.

“When he’s on the pitch he’s always 100 percent focused and always there. He doesn’t let him affect him but of course it’s not an easy thing for him, his family and everyone there. We just wanted to show him the support,” the Norwegian continued.

“We did a lot of the normal things, he always speaks before the games, I speak, others speak. It was the same today, before the game he said some words.”

Arsenal’s win over Leicester maintained their two-point lead over Manchester City at the top of the Premier League as the reigning champions thrashed Bournemouth. The Gunners also still have a game in hand that could extend that cushion to five points.