Celtic talent Matt O'Riley discloses private 20-minute chat with Barcelona striker
Celtic midfielder Matt O’Riley has revealed that he spoke with Barcelona striker Martin Braithwaite whilst on international duty with the under-21s.
Denmark decided to mix the senior team with the youth side in different parts of the country for training sessions. And as such, O’Riley was left sharing the same pitch as the La Liga striker.
The Celtic man will be hoping to feature alongside him in the future with the senior side, especially given the swift impression he’s made at under-21 level. O’Riley managed an assist just 1 minute into his first start, and will be eyeing up another strong performance against Scotland next on Friday afternoon.
However, as he reflected on how the current international camp is going, he revealed that he was given hints and tips by Barcelona’s Braithwaite during a recent session. As quoted by Bold.dk, O’Riley said: “I actually talked to Braithwaite quite a lot on the last day. It wasn’t like I went up to him and said, ‘Can I talk to you?’ but it just came naturally that we got talking. Before that, I hadn’t really talked to him that much. Then we were the last two in the dressing room and he came over and told me a lot, so we actually had a really good chat.
“We talked a lot about the mental side of football. He talked a lot about how he had become successful. About eating right, working hard and being professional, so that was cool to hear about. It wasn’t something I was thinking too much about at the time, but afterwards it was a bit funny that I had spent 20 minutes talking to Braithwaite from Barcelona. I’m just from Glasgow, so he probably doesn’t know me that well. But that’s football for you.
“We also played well together on the pitch, where we had a good connection, so it was easier to talk to them off the pitch. In football, you have to earn respect.”
Martin Braithwaite gives Celtic midfielder some tips in Denmark training session
O’Riley seems to be absolutely loving his Denmark experience so far after receiving his maiden call-up to the under-21s as recently as March. He clearly identifies with the nation and with strong family ties to the country, he’s taken to their international set-up like a duck to water.
Should he manage to make himself a regular in the senior squad, O’Riley will suddenly be playing alongside the likes of Braithwaite and Christian Eriksen at the top level. Something that must’ve been unthinkable for him just over half a year ago when he was at MK Dons.
It shows just how much moving to Celtic Park can boost your career. O’Riley is the perfect example of a lower league talent grabbing his opportunity at Celtic and making the most of his potential.
Of course, it’s early days yet. He’ll be hoping to confirm the Danes’ qualification to Euro 2023 and a strong performance there could help boost his senior opportunities. Whether he makes the World Cup? It’s certainly going to be close.
It also makes next season’s Champions League campaign even more important for him. If he’s holding his own against the best midfield talent in Europe, his profile will boost further.
For now, he’s clearly enjoying his time with Jesper Sorensen’s under-21s. Next up – a live BBC Scotland clash against Celtic teammate Stephen Welsh.