New striker Emil Riis has the right mentality to fit in perfectly at Preston North End

Alex Neil thinks Preston new boy Emil Riis has the necessary character to do well in English football.

By Dave Seddon
Wednesday, 7th October 2020, 8:00 am

The Lilywhites changed direction from their usual shopping pattern last week when signing the 22-year-old striker from Randers FC in Denmark.

They have not bought from overseas for nine years but PNE boss Neil has no fears about Riis settling in.

He is of the view that players from Scandinavia have generally done well in British football over the years.

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Emil Riis on his Preston North End debut against Brentford

Neil said: “A lot if it is about character.

“I don’t want to be stereotypical but certainly when you look at Scandinavians who have come over, they have a 
really good work ethic and are really disciplined with what they do.

“When they train and play, they work hard. Emil fits all of that and that fits our club.

“It fits how I want to go about recruiting in terms of profile.”

Neil decided against putting Riis in the start at Brentford on Sunday after the transfer only got completed on Thursday night.

Instead he named him among the substitutes and brought him on in the 78th minute.

Explaining that decision, Neil said: “Emil had only trained for one day.

“We wanted him to train on Friday but he had only taken a coronavirus test the day before and the results hadn’t appeared at that stage.

“So he had to train by himself on Friday. Then he joined in with the rest of the lads on Saturday before we went to Brentford.

“It was a case of settling him in, we are still at the early stages – things like getting him an English mobile phone!”

Riis will not have the current international break to use as part of that settling-in 
process, as he is in the 
Denmark Under-21s squad.

The Danes have European Championship qualifiers coming up against Malta on Friday and Finland next Tuesday.

Sat across from Riis on the Brentford bench on Sunday was his Under-21s team-mate Mads Bech Sorensen.

So no doubt the 4-2 win at the Brentford Community Stadium will have got a few mentions.

Neil said: “I would much prefer it if he could have stayed with us so he could train a little bit more and get used to it but that is what happens when you sign good players, they have got international duties.”

While the Dane’s full name is Riis Jakobsen, he uses Riis as his surname.

That is the name on the back of his shirt and on his social media profile.

Jakobsen is a very common name in Denmark and it is often the case people use a middle name.