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First Team News

Emil: “I’m Finally Back”

30 December 2023

First Team News

Emil: “I’m Finally Back”

30 December 2023

Standing on the touchline readying himself to feature after 362 days without a kick, while 14,000 fans roar his name, Emil Riis is feeling all the emotions of a year away from the game brewing.

Those few days in January following the news which the striker received – that he was set for a long spell on the sidelines – were about as tough as he’s experienced during his career.

There was a long road ahead of operations, rehab, conditioning, and training. But against Sheffield Wednesday in the final game of 2023, the Dane was finally back and ready to play a part, which ended up being 20 minutes as a substitute.

Emil said: “It’s been a long time and that’s something I’ve dreamt of for a year.

“I’m finally back and to help the boys is an amazing feeling.

“I was actually expecting to come back for Sunderland and Chelsea, and Ryan told me yesterday I was going to be on the bench today. I was so happy.

“When I finally came on it was an amazing feeling. To hear all the fans sing my name again was great. I almost got a bit emotional because it’s been so long.


“It’s like something in your life is just gone because you train [alone], but to have something to work towards and to have a goal as a team is something you really miss. To finally be able to play and help Preston again and help all the boys is amazing.”

It was the very first game of the year which saw the Dane pick up the injury which was expected to leave him out for roughly nine months, although it ended up being slightly longer.

After the operation which quickly followed the incident in Stoke, the forward had some time with his family, before his lengthy road to recovery began.

“The first couple of days was really tough,” Emil admitted.

“Obviously I had the scan the next day and it was confirmed I was going to be out for a long period of time, so it was tough to mentally get over it.

“I’d never had an injury like this before so you really have to change the way you play. Obviously I [usually] come in to play football and work towards that, and now you’re just going to be in the stand and working hard in the gym. It’s very tough.

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“I had a lot of family and my missus to help me through it, so it’s important for me.

“It's been massive because you work on your own, you always feel a bit lonely sometimes.

“To have someone support you is really important and I can only thank my teammates and all my family to have done that.”

Now those first minutes have come, the next few weeks are likely to see the forward look to build up his fitness and sharpness.

He said: “It’s almost been frustrating because I’ve felt ready but obviously I needed to get more training to not have a setback.

“It’s been good to be a part of the group again and feeling ready, it’s been really fun.

“Obviously it’s up to the gaffer how much I’m going to play but I need all the minutes I can to really get back and find my feet again.”

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