Celtic playmaker Matt O’Riley admits he was bitterly disappointed to miss out on Denmark’s World Cup squad. 

The 21-year-old wasn’t selected as part of the Danes’ 26-man player pool for the tournament in Qatar which got underway yesterday.  

They have some immensely talented players in their midfield and attacking areas, such as Christian Eriksen and Mikkel Damsgaard.  

However, despite having never been capped at senior level for his international side, O’Riley couldn’t hide his frustration at not being included to head to the Middle East. 

He said: “I was really disappointed. I was close. I spoke with the manager and I think I was close.  

“I think it was just a tiny bit soon for me by the sound of it. He was saying that the lead-up to this World Cup was quite a strange one. There weren’t a lot of training sessions before, so to integrate me would’ve been a bit difficult.  

“So, I kind of understood that. Then again hopefully there are going to be more opportunities for me next year. If I keep my form and keep improving then hopefully I’ll be involved.  

“The fact I got so close in a relatively short period of time is a definite positive. I know it will sound weird, but this rest will do me good too. I should be able to come back to a really good place. I’ve been lucky enough to stay fit so far for the season.  

“I’ve played a lot of football. Just coming back fresh, I think will really help me to kick on again. To improve my level, even more, would be really good.” 

As well as O’Riley, Kyogo and Reo Hatate were missing from Japan’s squad for the tournament.  

That certainly raised an eyebrow or two in the Celtic ranks. 

O’Riley added: “I felt for both of them. Selfishly, it’s probably a good thing for us. They’re going to come back fresh for the league, they’re not going to get injured or anything. We were all a bit confused, though, as they didn’t make it.  

“Even Jota – I think he had a fair shout of going with Portugal. It’s a good thing that we were all close, it shows that we’re in a good position.  

“Hopefully next year we can all be involved with our national teams.”

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