Ange Postecoglou on the fantastic motivation for Celtic January signing

By Euan Davidson

March 25, 2022

Ange Postecoglou knows his Celtic stars don’t need extra motivation, but a World Cup berth is a still a pretty amazing incentive for Matt O’Riley.

After getting his call-up to the Denmark U21s, with an eye on the senior squad, O’Riley has been absolutely buzzing. His side face Belgium on the 29th, and it’s a great opportunity for the Celtic January signing to turn heads at the DBU.

With a World Cup spot on the line, impressing for club and country is imperative for Matt O’Riley. Though born in London, his mother’s Danish citizenship has allowed him a unique opportunity, and he’s already trained in Denmark at youth level.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

His manager, Ange Postecoglou, said of O’Riley [Daily Record]: “I’m super pleased for him. International football will be great for him. It will add to him as a player and as a person, experiencing a different environment, even training with different types of players.

“It will be brilliant for him. I’ve said before, I think international football is great for players, especially young players, and I’m sure he’ll take a lot from it. I think it’s fully deserved as well. He was great before he came to us but since he came here he’s handled himself really well, particularly in big games.

“I’m sure in the back of his mind he’ll be thinking there’s a World Cup at the end of the year. It’s a big incentive for him. That’s what international football gives to players.

“Whether or not that comes too soon for him, who knows, but I’m sure he’ll do everything in his power.”

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67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

Celtic star Matt O’Riley has Denmark backing from Hoops boss Ange Postecoglou

It’s hard to disagree with Ange Postecoglou’s assessment here, but it’s worth reconsidering Celtic midfielder Matt O’Riley and his unique story.

Unsatisfied with his pathway at Fulham, he turned down a contract. During Covid-19, he trained in a park with his Dad, before MK Dons took a punt. Within a year of that move to Milton Keynes, he’s a Denmark youth international, and a big player for Celtic [Athletic].

There are unorthodox football career paths, and then there’s that. It’s remarkable.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Going to a World Cup, then, would be a fantastic way to cap that journey off. However, there’s a hell of a lot of competition for a place in the Denmark squad.

It’ll take really special performances at both club and international level for O’Riley to get the nod. Yet, it doesn’t seem beyond him. There hasn’t been a moment at Celtic, thus far, where he hasn’t looked the part, a uniquely motivated midfielder with excellent technical ability.

We know there will be Celtic players at the World Cup. Our Japanese contingent are all strong bets to go. Josip Juranovic is a cert. Carl Starfelt’s Sweden have work to do but could make it. Maybe even Scotland?

Of all the unique passageways to Qatar, though, Matt O’Riley’s would be the most impressive.

Here’s hoping he can do it. He has the backing from Ange Postecoglou and the Celtic supporters.

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