Norway manager Stale Solbakken is hopeful Martin Odegaard will be back in action when Arsenal take on Brentford after the international break.
After being rested due to muscle overload, Odegaard came off the bench and scored in Arsenal’s 3-1 defeat to West Ham United in the Carabao Cup on November 1, before surprisingly missing the three games that followed.
Arsenal have not confirmed the exact nature of Odegaard’s fitness problems but reports suggest the club captain has been battling both a hip injury and a concussion suffered in training.
Solbakken, who is without Odegaard for Norway’s international fixtures, revealed he has spoken to the 24-year-old and feels as though he is making real progress in his quest to return after the break, when Arsenal are due to take on Brentford.
“I’ve just come from a 45-minute talk with Martin,” Solbakken told a press conference. “He is getting better and better and gradually stepping up.
“It has been more or less three weeks without any special training, so it is important to take things step by step. Both he and Arsenal probably hope that he is available for the Brentford match.”
To add to the mystery of Odegaard’s injury, Solbakken revealed earlier this week that Norway had long expected to be without their captain for these two fixtures, despite Arsenal’s determination to get him back to full fitness.
“We have known for quite some time that Martin will not come,” he revealed. “But it must be coordinated with Arsenal, and for as long as they tried to get him healthy and ready, we were quite sure that it would not work.
“When the club is so reserved, I don’t know how right it is for me to talk about it. It is a common football injury from which he will probably recover very well and which is not career-threatening. It is in the bone.”
After the trip to the Brentford Community Stadium on November 25, Arsenal return to Champions League action against Lens, before domestic action against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Luton Town and Aston Villa in the first nine days of December.