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Norway boss Stale Solbakken plays down Martin Odegaard injury fears

:Headline: Norway boss Stale Solbakken plays down Martin Odegaard injury fears:
Norway head coach Stale Solbakken provides a positive injury update on Arsenal midfielder Martin Odegaard, who withdrew from the national team squad on Monday.
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Norway head coach Stale Solbakken has played down injury fears regarding Arsenal midfielder Martin Odegaard.

The 24-year-old has been struggling with a hip problem and was initially benched for Premier League matches against Sheffield United and West Ham United before missing each of the Gunners' last three games entirely across all competitions.

It has since emerged that Odegaard was absent from the 1-0 defeat at Newcastle due to concussion protocols and he was subsequently required to miss a midweek Champions League clash with Sevilla and last weekend's Premier League win over Burnley.

The Arsenal captain was initially called up to Solbakken's Norway squad ahead of a friendly with the Faroe Islands and a Euro 2024 qualifier against Scotland this month, but he has since withdrawn from the national team setup and will remain at Arsenal.

Solbakken has provided a reassuring update on Odegaard's fitness, though, and has insisted that the midfielder has not sustained a serious injury.

"The club [Arsenal] are so reserved about it so I don't know how much I should say about it," Solbakken told reporters as quoted by The Mirror.

"I have known all about the injury so I've never really planned on having Martin. We took him in the squad because at that time there was hope that he could play against Sevilla or Burnley at the weekend.

"But when it became clear early in the week that he probably wouldn't make it, we stopped planning with him."

Solbakken added: "I can say that it is a very normal football injury that you'll very likely recover from completely. It's not career-threatening! He will play many more international matches for Norway."

Solbakken has confirmed that Odegaard will remain in Norway for a few days before returning to Arsenal later this week and the midfielder has been set a specialised training programme as he continues to step up his recovery.

"He is going to have an individual programme for a few days now," the 55-year-old added. "Then we hope he will come to watch the game against the Faroe Islands and can be with us for the entirety of Friday. That's the plan."

Odegaard has been a standout performer for Arsenal since joining the club on a permanent deal from Real Madrid in the summer of 2021, scoring 29 goals and registering 16 assists in 120 appearances across all competitions.

The 55-cap Norway international, who penned a new long-term contract with the Gunners until 2028 in September, has suffered a slight dip in form this term but has still contributed with five goals and one assist in 15 games, helping the Gunners climb to third in the Premier League table and one point behind leaders Manchester City.

Odegaard is not the only Arsenal player in the treatment room as Thomas Partey, Jurrien Timber and Emile Smith Rowe are all sidelined with injuries, while Gabriel Jesus has been called up to the Brazil squad even though he is nursing a hamstring problem. body check tags ::

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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CManchester CityMan City38287396346291
2Arsenal38285591296289
3Liverpool382410486414582
4Aston Villa382081076611568
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs382061274611366
6Chelsea381891177631463
7Newcastle UnitedNewcastle381861485622360
8Manchester UnitedMan Utd38186145758-160
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham381410146074-1452
10Crystal Palace381310155758-149
11Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton381212145562-748
12Bournemouth38139165467-1348
13Fulham38138175561-647
14Wolverhampton WanderersWolves38137185065-1546
15Everton38139164051-1140
16Brentford38109195665-939
17Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest3899204967-1832
RLuton TownLuton3868245285-3326
RBurnley3859244178-3724
RSheffield UnitedSheff Utd38372835104-6916
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