Martin Odegaard left Real Madrid to join Dutch top-flight Heerenveen on loan in search of more playing time and to gain some experience but in the course of the side’s last three games the Norwegian midfielder has been given just four minutes on the pitch, sugesting that Heerenveen coach Jurgen Streppel is not particularly enamoured with the player despite Odegaard's impressive debut for the club.
Heerenveen fine if Odegaard doesn't play
On Tuesday Heerenveen played Sparta Rotterdam, a side three points clear of the relegation zone. Odegaard was brought on in the 86th minute after being an unused substitute in the two previous matches against Feyenoord and Heracles Almelo with Heerenveen 3-0 up. It has been suggested that Heerenveen face a fine every time Odegaard, who is on a salary of 3.5 million euros per season at the Eredivisie club, does not play at least one minute of a match.
Odegaard, who came to prominence at Stromgodset and has shown flashes of the skill that initially attracted Real Madrid, has struggled for goals since leaving the Norwegian club. At Castilla he scored five in 62 games in Segunda B and so far in the Netherlands he has failed to find the net in 590 minutes across 11 league and cup games, although he has provided two assists.
Norway chances becoming scarce
While Odegaard has been the subject of criticism in the Netherlands in his home country, he is still remembered as the precocious talent that came through at Stromgodset and was the youngest debutant for his country in history. Lars Lagerbäck left Odegaard out of his first Norway squad for the qualifier against Northern Ireland during the last international break, arguing that he wanted “players of a different style” for the match, but the fact remains that the midfielder has not added to his nine caps since playing 45 minutes of a friendly win over Finland more than a year ago.
That has led for some in Norway to urge the 18-year-old to return. Sporten recently wrote: “The idea is that Martin would play more, not less. Maybe he would be renewed if he was playing among friends and had his mother’s hme cooking close to hand.”