International coach's high praise for Celtic hero as hype abroad revealed

By John McGinley

October 1, 2022

Danish U21 coach Jesper Sorensen has dished out some high praise for Celtic midfielder Matt O’Riley this week as he continues to make progress within his national team set-up.

O’Riley was born in England but qualifies for Denmark duty through a grandparent and has dived into their U21 team with a view to making a senior breakthrough.

And it certainly sounds like he is making a positive impression on coaches away from Celtic, and even Danish observers and fans.

Photo by Thor Wegner/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

As quoted by The Herald, Sorensen said of O’Riley: “I guess that in Britain there is a lot of talk right now about Matt, but there is in Denmark as well. He doesn’t seem to get carried away, he primarily is focusing solely on becoming a better player, and any time we get him here from Celtic we can see he is becoming a better player.

“I think he is a clever boy, he’s mature and he is at peace with himself and his decisions. And he is at peace with where is at the moment and what he wants to do. In Denmark, everybody has noticed what he has done at Celtic, and he is now playing in the Champions League regularly, which of course is fantastic for a young man. There is a bit of hype for Matt also in Denmark.

“The ability to find space and have time on the ball is absolutely his biggest quality. He always seems to have plenty of time when he is on the ball, his passing range is very good, and another thing is that he wants to get into the box too. He scored a very good goal for us here against Croatia in the last game with a header, and he has a very good strike with his left foot within 20 metres of the goal. The only area I would say where he has a bit of progression still to go is without the ball, he has to put a bit more intensity in when he doesn’t have the ball.”

It’s easy to forget that O’Riley has been at Celtic for less than a year and that he is still young enough to qualify for U21 football. He is already an accomplished performer and will undoubtedly improve from here.

As Sorensen alludes to, he has even visibly improved while at the Bhoys. With consistent game time and more exposure to Ange Postecoglou’s attacking system, we could just be scratching the surface of what O’Riley can end up doing in Scotland.

If he makes it into the Danish senior side along the way, the better it will be for Celtic.

In other news, Today is big for Celtic with potential points swing on the line.