Yesterday, Matt O’Riley spoke to CelticTV after his initial training sessions under Brendan Rodgers and he was fulsome in his praise for the man who is his new manager. I know, right? Nothing revolutionary there exactly; man says nice things about his boss, oh wow. But you got the distinct impression that this wasn’t a guy doing any sucking up.
The team is now putting in the hard yards, under a manager who is very different from the old one. The cultural changes are clearly something O’Riley is comfortable with.
Postecoglou maintained a distance from his players. Rodgers does not. Postecoglou left them mainly to their own devices on match day. Rodgers absolutely will not.
Both managers have succeeded with their own different ways … it’s not about whose is the best, as such, but O’Riley is clearly preferring it this way. This is the only the start for him. Ange Postecoglou signed a good player. It will be Rodgers who makes him a great one.
Matt is one of the players I expect there to be interest in during this window; he should turn it down flat, because this is where he’ll become a better football by far. Rodgers has always been good at that, and when he decides what role he wants O’Riley to play I fully expect that the player will embrace it and go on to be an even bigger hit.
O’Riley is the sort of player who will appeal to him because he can play in several different positions on the pitch.
I thought he was really good in a defensive role and with Rodgers preferring to play with two ball-winners in the middle of the pitch, augmenting an attacking player, O’Riley will have lots of opportunities to show us what he can do as he’s capable of playing both roles.
I actually expect transformations in several of our players in the coming season, but I’m excited to see what Brendan makes him into … and judging by his comments yesterday, O’Riley is eager to find out the same. If he stays, he’ll have a big part to play.