Odegaard will develop into class player - Lagerback

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The Norway manager hopes the midfielder gets regular playing time next season and is looking forward to watching his old teams at the World Cup

Norway manager Lars Lagerback has hailed Real Madrid midfielder Martin Odegaard as one of the most technical players he has ever seen and says he will develop into a "class" player.

The 19-year-old has spent 18 months on loan at Dutch side Heerenveen and will return to Madrid in the close season looking to continue his development.

The Norway international could be sent on loan again for another year and is open to spending time at another Spanish side to prove his worth in La Liga.

Odegaard missed the end of the season at Heerenveen as well as Norway's 3-2 win over Iceland on Saturday due to a broken metatarsal, but he remains on Lagerback's mind, and the coach will be keeping an eye on his situation.

"He is doing better and better. He has a great potential, and he is one of the most technical players that I ever seen," Lagerback told Goal. "With more experience, I think that he can be a really, really class player.

"Regarding where he should play, it's always difficult to give advice when the players ask me. It's very important for the players, and especially the young ones, to have as much playing time as possible. But, at the same time, if a big club like Real Madrid takes him back, that's is also good if you can get playing time there.

"That's the dilemma, a difficult decision. In the end, it's the player himself who has to make that decision. I always advise players who ask me to join a realistic club where they can play. But this sort of decision must be his.

"He is still young, and maybe being in the starting XI in a team like Real Madrid is complicated because he will only turn 20 this year. He still has a lot of time.  But, as I said, the decision is his."

Despite coaching at three World Cups with Sweden and Nigeria, Lagerback will not be at the tournament in Russia because of Norway's failure to qualify.

The former Iceland boss will be following it from home, however, and sees France as one of the top candidates for the crown.

"It's very hard to predict who will win this tournament because there are many national teams with equal potential and talent," he added. "And I think that France is one of them because they have really good players. So, definitely, they have a chance to win the World Cup."

Lagerback's former side Sweden will be without one of his old stars in the shape of Zlatan Ibrahimovic at the competition, despite the LA Galaxy forward having flirted with a return to the national team.

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However, the 69-year-old coach believes they will be fine without him.

"I've seen a couple of his games in the US recently. After his very serious knee injury, I dont know how well he is," he said. "It's the concern when we see him. But he has said "no", and I agree with the Swedish coach, Janne Andersson.

"He said that as long as Ibrahimovic said that he doesn't want to play with national team anymore, there is no need to discuss about that. Sweden need to focus on the players who are available."

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