When Celtic signed Matt O’Riley from MK Dons in the January transfer window, quite a few eyebrows had been raised. Initially, the club had been linked with Riley McGree. But when that failed to transpire, the Hoops appeared to swiftly complete a move for the former Fulham midfielder, who had been impressing at the League One side. There were question marks though about whether he would be able to handle the jump to the Premiership.
Till now, it looks like Celtic made a fantastic decision by signing O’Riley, who has shown tremendous potential, especially at 21 years of age.
There is heavy competition in the middle of the park at Celtic though, which has resulted in him being left out of the starting XI on a number of occasions. It looks like the youngster has a brilliant attitude about it though.
“Even now you see our bench – the strength in depth is pretty crazy. But in terms of going forward if we’re able to change things, then with the way we’ll play then we’ll need to freshen it up because everyone needs to press really intensely. So I think it’s perfect to be honest.
“I’m obviously disappointed when I’m left out of the team but at the same time I know I’m always going to get the chance to try and influence it. So at the end of the day that’s the main thing.”
O’Riley opens up about being left out of Celtic’s starting XI
That is a brilliant outlook on things, especially for a player so young. But then, O’Riley has already shown maturity beyond his years in the past, when he turned down the chance to remain at Fulham, and joined MK Dons in search of regular first-team football.
It is safe to say that that move paid off for him and now, he finds himself as a key player at Celtic.
He might not be an ever-present in the starting XI, but that is understandable considering the depth that this team and also the amount of work that the midfielders are expected to put in Ange Postecoglou’s system.
At the moment, O’Riley seems to be in direct competition with Tom Rogic for the starting spot at Celtic and both of them have been in brilliant form this season.
This article was originally posted here