Celtic midfielder Matt O’Riley will continue to focus on his daily routines for self-improvement rather than being derailed by thoughts of Euro 2024 following his debut for Denmark in midweek.
The 23-year-old won his first cap in Monday’s 2-0 defeat of Northern Ireland at Windsor Park.
Kasper Hjulmand’s side have already won their group ahead of the trip to Belfast and O’Riley will continue to look to impress for Celtic with his international hopes firmly in the back of his mind.
“The first game is obviously a good moment, even though it wasn’t our best performance, but at the same time you’re still playing for your country,” he said.
“It was a moment of pride for me and my family. My family was there, my mom and dad, girlfriend and agent/friend.
“Obviously it’s a new experience, new teammates, new players, it’s always challenging because it’s a new environment, new people, so it takes a little time to adjust naturally, but I found it relatively easy just because they’re really good people.
“The first few days you’re a little nervous, just getting into it, but after that you’re fine.
“It’s not something I’ve thought too much about, at the end of the day you’re still just playing football. If I play with good players and play under a good manager, it shouldn’t be a problem to play well.
“And yes, of course I was disappointed with the result and I was hard on myself after the game because you’re naturally like that when you lose, but regardless I got some nice feedback.
“Obviously I’m in the mix now so it’s about continuing to improve.”
On the possibility of playing in Germany next summer, the former MK Dons midfielder said: “It was always the target anyway. It’s something I try not to think about too much on a regular basis, it’s more about the mundane processes, the boring mundane things, that usually help you get where you want to go.
“It’s still four or five months until the next camp so there’s a lot of football to play for your club before then and a lot of things can happen in terms of performances so I’ll do my best.
“That’s what got me there and I’ll try to keep improving as a player.
“I feel good, I feel physically and mentally strong, which is progress. I feel like I’ve improved a lot this season in various aspects.”
One of those aspects is goal scoring – O’Riley has six goals ahead of Saturday’s visit to Motherwell, more than his total last term.
Asked what contributed to his numbers, the former Fulham trainee said: “Clearer mind first of all, I’m more open when I’m on the pitch.
“Secondly, I’m just getting into the right positions to score and then taking the pressure off a bit, not expecting to score every game, just trying to do my best for the team and naturally you get your results.
“You have to go through experiences. I had to go through a phase where I didn’t score for a long time so that maybe then I would know how to release the pressure the next time.
“For me, the big thing that helped the most was that I was in the best mood. This is something I pay close attention to on a daily basis.
“I meditate a lot, I talk regularly with my friend/life coach who lives in India. I work with him a lot in terms of talking about things that may have been in me for a long time.
“Maybe I didn’t have the knowledge to understand how to talk about it.
“It’s helped me a lot, I feel more confident and open to talking to people in general.”