Earlier this month, Preston finally found their new striker, as Emil Riis was lured to Deepdale from Randers.
North End paid around £1.2million to bring Riis to Lancashire, meaning he is now the second-most expensive striker in the club’s history, behind only David Healy.
Riis made his debut against Brentford last weekend, coming on as a substitute in the 4-2 win down in West London. Riis is now off on international duty, featuring as a substitute in Denmark Under-21’s 3-1 win over Malta on Friday night.
The 22-year-old will be looking to make a quick impact at Preston, and we’re all still learning about him as a player. Few knew of Riis when Preston announced his arrival, even though he has been in English football before with Derby County.
To try and find out more about our new striker, we got in touch with Claus Røndbjerg, who runs the Danish Footy account on Twitter. Claus was kind enough to answer a few questions about Riis, giving some great insight into the player North End have brought in.
You’ll have seen plenty of Emil Riis over the last few years, so what do you think are his biggest strengths?
His biggest strength is no doubt his movement off the ball and how he is striking it. So much power. Also he’s a tall and big dude. He’s that sort of striker you can ping the ball to, and he keeps a hold of it quite nicely. Moreover than just matter of football, he’s a really sweet and down to earth dude. Always happy in interviews.
What would you say his main weaknesses are?
Main weakness is he tends to drop out of matches, if let’s say the team isn’t playing to his strength. At Randers he was used to being involved in everything. Lack of consistency too, but that’s normal for a player his age I believe.
What has the reaction to Riis’s move been in Denmark? Is the move considered to be a step forward for him, and is DKK 10 million (£1.2million) seen as a fair price?
The transfer fee only recently got known because Randers revealed it. People could see him taking a step towards England and the Championship. At first, Randers fans in particular were a bit unhappy with the sale so close to the deadline as they needed to get another striker in, but when the fee got public I believe most of them acknowledged the fact that the club needed to sell.
How much do you think Randers will miss Riis?
Randers will definitely miss him. No doubt. He was the club’s top scorer alongside Alhaji Kamara, and in my humble opinion he is much better than him.
Randers sold a striker to an English club in 2015, with Nicolai Brock-Madsen signing for Birmingham City, but he played just eight games for the Blues. How would you compare Riis to Brock-Madsen, and do you think he’s more likely to succeed in England?
Don’t think you can even compare Brock-Madsen with Riis. Riis is a technically better player and with a higher potential ceiling. Brock-Madsen to me was that big target man, but that was pretty much it. Riis is far better in pretty much anything bar heading perhaps.
We’ve seen that Brondby fans don’t seem to like Riis very much due to a handball last season. Others have said that Riis often dives and ‘cheats’, do you think that’s a fair assessment of his style?
The handball incident was a strange one. I don’t know if you’ve even seen the incident but it was ALL intentional. How the ref didn’t see that is beyond me and the goal itself should never have stood. He even agreed to that, but to use that episode as to brand him a cheater in the game is rich. I haven’t seen anything close to that from him after and I think he’s a winner, and winners sometimes go past the line.
Finally, Riis is an Under-21 international, do you think he could eventually reach the senior level for the Danish national team?
In order to become a full Danish international you can’t just look at Riis’ stats, playing style etc, you’ll need to see the competitors too. Denmark have, at the moment, one big talent for the striker position: Kasper Dolberg, and then the rest (Martin Braithwaite, Yussuf Poulsen, Nicolai Jørgensen, etc). It would be wrong of me to rule him out, but he needs to build on his game and his strengths. Then, perhaps, he can become a Denmark international. But for now I don’t see it happening.
Thank you again to Claus for these answers, and we hope this helps you get to know Riis and what we can expect moving forward!