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O’Riley has special insider for his Danish quest

Matt O’Riley has more to play for than most Celtic players in the closing months of the season.

A domestic double is up for grabs but during January Atletico Madrid were reported to have had a bid for the midfielder turned down, it would be naive to think that they won’t renew their interest during the summer.

Celtic are quite open about being a selling club, Jota, Odsonne Edouard and Kris Ajer have all been sold on over the last few years with O’Riley expected to be in high demand in the summer despite signing a renewed Celtic contract in September.

On top of a potential transfer there is the not so small matter of earning a place in the Danish squad for the European Championships in Germany.

In other circumstances it would seem far fetched for a former England youth internationalist to earn a place in the Denmark squad through playing in the SPFL but O’Riley has a significant ally in his camp to gain international recognition.

After spending six seasons at Celtic during his playing days Morten Wieghorst knows the unique demands that comes with the territory, being at the club when Wim Jansen stopped a tenth title going to Ibrox, the dark days of John Barnes through to a treble under Martin O’Neill and Champions League football.

In two years at Celtic O’Riley’s game has come on leaps and bounds, dominating matches domestically but importantly also making n impact in two Champions League campaigns.

That arena brought him to the attention of Atletico and his first full international cap back in November.

There won’t be any further European football for O’Riley this season but Kasper Hjulmand’s assistant knows all about the emerging midfielder and the domestic challenges he is facing at Celtic.

It’s been amazing to see Matt’s progress. It’s a joy because when you meet Matt you sense that he is a player who wants to make the most of his career.

He does everything possible to improve his own game and he’s a team player. He’s with Denmark, he’s very important to Celtic this season as he was last season.

And with the Denmark team competition is fierce but he’s not frightened of the competition.

He’s doing everything he can to try and get into the team and when he’s been with us he’s shown his quality and, yeah, we’ll we’ll keep following Matt’s progress.

O’Riley has appeared a little off the boil in recent matches but he did suffer a back injury against Ross County and played out the whole 90 plus minutes.

Getting into the Danish squad is a tough ask but the same was said in January 2022 when he moved from MK Dons to Celtic.

With Wieghorst batting for his cause O’Riley won’t be overlooked as the Danes put their Euro squad together but after reaching the semi-finals in 2021 it is a high benchmark to get into their squad for Germany.

CLICK HERE for O’Riley’s stats this season.

CLICK HERE for Gordon Strachan’s Celtic injury fear.


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