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First Team News

Emil Riis Talks His Injury Comeback And Being Hungry For More

21 February 2024

First Team News

Emil Riis Talks His Injury Comeback And Being Hungry For More

21 February 2024

In May 2022, Emil Riis was on top of the world. The striker had just had the best season of his career with a return of 21 goals.

But seven months later, a huge part of his life was stripped away. An ACL injury picked up in an away match against Stoke City in the opening game of 2023 would leave him sidelined until the very last match of the year.

12 months of rehab, recovery, setbacks, and finally his return came.

Now, he’s back fit, firing, and amongst the goals, and he can’t wait to see what’s to come.

Emil said: “It’s something I’ve been dreaming about for a while, so to see the ball hit the back of the net at Cardiff was something that meant a lot to me.

“It’s something that’s going to keep me pushing forward and it’s going to make me hungrier for even more.

“I think the most important part of me scoring was the fact it makes me want more. I want to keep going now.”

Although determined to kick on, the Dane is well aware that patience may be required.

No player who’s suffered an injury as serious as his can walk back into the team, play 90 minutes every game, and hit their top form.


He can surely take huge positives, though, from just how bright and sharp he has looked since making his comeback against Sheffield Wednesday, having scored three goals in his previous three outings.

Emil said: “The surgeon and some of the players have said use the rest of this season as a build-up to get myself ready, to get strong and fit again, and then next season is really where people will see the best of me.

“I’m just happy to be back in the team. I didn’t expect it to be this early, and to be scoring goals, so I’m really pleased with that.

“Obviously I want to keep pushing on, but then again, I don’t want to push too much. I still need to keep building myself up.

“I’m not going to play 90 minutes three times in a week. I’m going to be built up. I want to keep pushing and keep scoring goals, but I don’t want to have a setback with my injury.”

Emil admitted that was the toughest part of his road to recovery: the setbacks. There was a time he was back in full training and then suddenly he had to have another operation which would keep him out for another two months.

That’s something which, looking back, he’s really pleased happened, given that he now feels “so much better and stronger” for it.

You could see that, too, in his goal against Cardiff City specifically as he ran at the home defence, cut inside, and fired into the bottom corner.

It’s become something of a running joke among the North End fanbase how Emil celebrates, or how he doesn’t celebrate.

He could fire one in from 30 yards and stand there as if nothing’s happened, but that wasn’t the case in South Wales as he leapt and punched the air in front of the travelling fans. 

Emil laughed: “I was actually running the other way when I scored but I remembered that the fans were in that corner, so I thought I’d run over and celebrate with them after all that time.

“I’ve never really had a celebration. I’m just so happy when I score that I just forget everything in that moment.

“Fans will probably say I don’t show it but I’m very happy on the inside and my teammates show that as well. People that know me know that I’m very happy to score goals.”

Ever since the former Randers man stepped foot in Lancashire, the North End faithful have been right behind Emil.

He may not have played in front of the fans for almost 12 months during his time in the treatment room, but they were with him fully throughout his comeback.

“The fans have been really great,” said Emil. “They’ve been supporting me all the way through and asking when I’m going to be back and all of that.

“That really helps because it makes you feel wanted. It’s something that made me work even harder in the gym and with my recovery, knowing that they want me back.

“Last week at the training day they were all so happy for me and it’s just great to be back playing in front of them.”


That support coupled with life off the pitch makes everything on it all the more easy, and the 25-year-old is very content with things in that department.

He’s recently made the move closer to the training ground from Manchester and, while there’s a part of him which misses the big-city feel, he’s settled where he is with his partner Caroline.

Not forgetting his dogs, too, with the pair recently adding 13-week-old German Shepherd, Enzo to their family.

Emil laughed: “He’s a lot of work, but it’s going well. I think my other dog thinks he has got a lot of energy. 

“She’s lazy and just wants to sleep all day, and he just wants to run around and that annoys her.

“He’s going to be a lot of work, but he’s good. Luckily, he sleeps at night so I can get my sleep, and during the day my missus looks after him.”

This interview with Emil featured in the club's matchday programme for Saturday's Lancashire derby against Blackburn Rovers.

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