Celtic star Matt O'Riley feeling immediate boost from Denmark U21 camp; outlines debut hopes

By Euan Davidson

March 25, 2022

When Celtic send their international players away, the hope is that they’ll come back full of confidence, in a great mood – for Matt O’Riley, his assuredness is only growing.

Selected for his first Denmark U21 squad, O’Riley has already expressed how delighted he is to be considered by the DBU. A former England youth international, Celtic midfielder O’Riley is eligible for Denmark through his mother.

An impressive half-season at MK Dons, and a great start at Celtic, were enough to convince DBU selectors to give him a chance at U21 level for Denmark, and a senior call-up might not be far behind.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Quite the rapid rise in recent months for O’Riley, then. But on a personal level, even if a debut doesn’t come, it’s been an excellent experience. He’s improving his language skills, and the welcome from the U21 set-up has been a huge morale boost.

O’Riley told Bold: “It has been really good. 

“Both the teammates, the coaches and the staff have been kind to me and really accommodating. So it’s been easy. 

“I don’t always understand what they say, but then I just ask one more time. My Danish is getting much better while I’m here, so it’s really good for me.

“[A debut] could be cool, but I do not know yet if it will happen. It could be big for me and my family – that’s for sure.”

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If Celtic star Matt O’Riley brings back positive vibes from Denmark experience, then it benefits Hoops

Almost everything about Celtic man Matt O’Riley is unorthodox.

His pathway to Celtic, having rejected a Fulham contract, training in a park and ending up at MK Dons. The speed he plays at, seemingly seconds ahead of whoever’s marking him. How he talks to the media, and interacts with supporters; nothing strikes as “normal footballer” from O’Riley.

That’s a good thing, it’s extremely refreshing. Even the way he ended up deciding he wanted to pursue a future with Denmark was a bit unusual.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

However, there’s something true of every footballer; getting a chance to represent your country for the first time, at any level, is a privilege. The energy and confidence that would give O’Riley at a crucial time in the title race can only be a positive far as Celtic are concerned.

It’s not just the debutants either. Giakoumakis’ form has been rewarded by Greece. Starfelt is back in the picture for Sweden. Greg Taylor and Callum McGregor both started for Scotland last night, while Reo Hatate was there when Japan qualified for World Cup 2022.

Having internationalists across the squad is, for many reasons, a great thing. Now, O’Riley is in that number. Let’s hope he gets the debut that’d make his family so proud.

Read more: “I went completely crazy”; When Celtic star Matt O’Riley decided his international future