Depending on the outcome of play-off matches and further qualifying games, there could be several Celtic players at the upcoming World Cup in Qatar later this year. Although there are many factors to consider, it looks like one new signing has the possibility to end up there despite being nowhere the national team picture at this point of time.
Matt O’Riley has been a sensation for Celtic in the handful of games that he has played since arriving in January from MK Dons. And while he had already caught the eye of the Denmark national team, his move to the Hoops has put him on a bigger stage and perhaps could accelerate a full international call up from them.
O’Riley has represented the England youth teams over the years but qualifies to play for Denmark through his mother. He has indicated that he would be open to representing them.
As reported by the Daily Record, O’Riley said about the situation:
“I played for England youth teams, but at the same time I do feel quite Danish. My mum’s Danish, I can speak a decent amount, I can understand a very good amount so in that sense I don’t think it’s something that’s out of the question at all.
“And if I did get a call-up from Denmark then I don’t think I’d be saying no.”
That raises the possibility of O’Riley possibly getting into Denmark’s World Cup 2022 squad. They have already qualified for the competition. And Danish FA’s talent development manager, Flemming Berg, has revealed that he has already trained with their youth sides:
“We have had contact with Matt. He informed us, along with his agent and his family, that he would be interested in playing for Denmark.
“He is part of our talent pool now. If we thought he had no interest from him, he wouldn’t be on the list.
“Matt has also been to training sessions with the youth national teams on several occasions.”
Could the Celtic star switch England for Denmark?
International call ups can be mixed news for clubs. We have seen Kyogo Furuhashi pick up an injury with Japan and Daizen Maeda miss some Celtic games to play for his national side.
That’s always a risk, but with Denmark, at least they would follow the European footballing timetable for matches aligned to international breaks in the season.
And an international call up, especially by the nation ranked 9th in the world by FIFA is quite an accolade for the club too. It sends a message to potential new signings that although the Scottish League itself may rank behind the likes of the Premier League and La Liga, playing for Celtic can be a terrific career step forward. If the success of our players means that they can play in World Cup tournaments that’s got to encourage others.
This article was originally posted here