Jens Odgaard has quickly endeared himself to Bologna fans. The attacker, who transferred from AZ this winter, was immediately accurate on his debut on Sunday. Another old acquaintance, Sydney van Hooijdonk, has to pay the price.
Odgaard was allowed to participate for half an hour in the home match against Lecce (4-0 win) on Sunday. The Dane came in ahead of Joshua Zirkzee, who did not end up on the scoreboard. Sam Beukema had already given Bologna the lead in the fifth minute.
“Odgaard seems more effective than Van Hooijdonk and stimulates Zirkzee,” writes Corriere dello Sport. “The Bologna fans are even in love with him. Zirkzee, on the other hand, left the field with a sad face.”
These are uncertain times for Zirkzee, as Bologna attracted a new striker this winter in the person of Santiago Castro for 12 million euros. He is expected to join the group soon.
“Zirkzee is having a great season,” coach Thiago Motta responded on Sunday. “He wasn't happy about having to leave the field, but there are others who deserve to play. The competition from Odgaard, who trains hard, is good for him.”
Difference with Van Hooijdonk
Corriere dello Sport sees a clear difference between Odgaard and Van Hooijdonk. The latter has had his money's worth this winter and will spend the second half of the season on a rental basis for Norwich City.
“Anyone who wondered why Van Hooijdonk doesn't get any chances at Bologna got the answer there. Odgaard has more speed and knows how to score goals. Van Hooijdonk has probably forgotten that.”
Motta expects a lot from Odgaard. “He wants to see him play so that he might start later. It is just difficult to do that consistently. Zirkzee is the big man. Odgaard is at most a good backup at the moment.”
Odgaard was pleased with his debut. “It was a fantastic debut for me,” said the Dane. “I'm happy with the goal and that I was able to celebrate with the fans. I've only been in Bologna for a week, but I already feel part of this fantastic group.”
“The players, staff and everyone else within the club immediately made me feel like I was part of the team. This group is special.”
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