Matt O'Riley details chat with Danish U21 coach; talks up Celtic move

By David Walton

March 22, 2022

Celtic midfielder Matt O’Riley has spoken out on the chat he had with Denmark Under-21 coach Jesper Sorensen as he talked up his Parkhead move.

O’Riley is looking ahead to a big week with the Danish U21s as they continue their Euro qualifying campaign with a crucial home clash against Belgium.

The former MK Dons midfielder has been a regular at Celtic Park since his January move. And despite being on Denmark’s radar even during his time with the League One club, O’Riley believes his Hoops move helped seal the deal.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

He’s been speaking to Danish outlet Tipsbladet, and O’Riley was happy to discuss his conversation with Sorensen:

“He asked me: ‘Matt, take your time, I know it’s a big decision, but at the same time I also need an answer, as I am not interested in you changing your mind at the last minute, so I want to know if you want to join’ I told him that it would make me really happy and honoured to play for Denmark.

“When I spoke to Jesper he was not fully aware that I was available for Denmark. I do not think he was aware that I was half Danish. When he found out about October or November last year, he started keeping an eye on me. The switch to Celtic was a step up and I have managed to play continuously there, which he has also looked at.

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“When I switched to Celtic, I knew there was a greater chance of playing for the national team. When I heard about the interest from Denmark, I thought it was mega cool. I had a really good gut feeling that this is the right thing for me.”

Matt O’Riley fully deserving of his Denmark opportunity after impressive Celtic start

You simply can’t begrudge O’Riley this amazing opportunity he has with Denmark. It’s certainly deserved given everything he’s given Celtic in his first few months in Glasgow.

He has provided one of the boosts we really needed to kick on in January. As well as we performed in the first half of the campaign, there’s a reason we only ended it 6 points behind Rangers. We still needed more bodies, and midfielder was a place where we were badly lacking in quality due to injury knocks.

O’Riley has managed to fill that void superbly with his technical ability and eye for a pass in the final third. To think we only got him for £1.5m plus add-ons spells out a fantastic piece of business for the football club [Sky Sports].

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

It also says a lot about O’Riley’s determination that he didn’t have to wait before taking Denmark’s call. Given his English roots and being born in London, it would’ve been easy for him to simply wait for his opportunity to be given an England call.

All we can do is hope that he performs to his maximum level this week in what’s going to be a huge game for him. Then again, whether he immediately goes into the starting line-up is also up for debate.

It’s going to be a huge opportunity for Matt and one we firmly hope he takes.

In other news, What Shunsuke Nakamura told Kyogo about the Scottish media before Celtic move