O'Riley feels plenty established in the Dons side

"I feel like I've been here for ages to be honest!"

Wednesday, 30th June 2021, 3:34 pm
Matt O'Riley

He may have only been a Dons player for six months, but Matt O'Riley already feels like a part of the furniture.

The 20-year-old barely missed a game after putting pen to paper on a deal in January, racking up 24 appearances and netting three goals as he helped Dons to a 13th place finish last season.

Prior to signing his deal though, he had been training with Russell Martin's side for several months, getting used to the style of play, mixing with the squad long before he pulled on the shirt for the first time.

Returning this week for pre-season training, O'Riley said he feels very much at home in the team now.

"A year is not a long time, but it is in football especially with Covid," he said. "I feel like I've been here for ages to be honest! And I think that's a good thing, it shows how comfortable I am with everyone and how much I'm enjoying myself.

"I played a lot of games last season which is good for me, and puts me in a good physical position, and I know I'm capable of playing a lot of games on the bounce now which I didn't really know before arriving here.

"I really want to push on and help the team as much as I can.

"It's my first pre-season in a really long time - probably about three years. It's definitely much better for me, it puts me in a better position going into the new season so I can really hit the ground running."

His experience from last season too could come in handy for another new recruit - that of Scott Twine.

O'Riley added: "For the new guys coming in, like Twiney, he's in a similar position to me so I can help him if he needs help. I feel like I know the ins and outs, I've been here for a long time now so I know the style. It's not just the staff helping new players, but the rest of us as well which is good."