Preston North End striker Emil Riis settling down on and off the pitch in England
Emil Riis got a knock on the door from the police this week, that all part of adjusting to life in England after his move to Preston North End from Denmark.
Any footballer will tell you moving club is a big change in their life, let alone when done in the midst of a global pandemic.
Riis arrived in England at the start of October and after a spell living in a hotel, is now settled in an apartment.
His girlfriend came over recently to join him and that was the reason for the law paying a visit.
“I do like it in England, everything off the pitch is settled now,” said Riis.
“I’ve got an apartment and my girlfriend is over here now with me, it’s all under control.
“Settling off the pitch means I can concentrate in improving my game and focus on football.
“I live in Manchester, in the city centre, because I wanted to have city life.
“But everything is shut at the moment, there’s not really anywhere to go.
“My girlfriend coming over means she has to quarantine at the moment because of the restrictions with Denmark.
“The police came knocking on my door the other day which was a big surprise. It was just to check she was quarantining inside, so everything was good.”
This is Riis’ second time living in England, the Dane having done so as a young player at Derby.
He joined the Rams’ set-up as a teenager and got as far as the Under-23s before returning to play in Denmark.
The striker did not have any problems settling at Derby either, that due to his living arrangements.
Said Riis: “It was a big decision to come to England when I was a young player.
“One of the things that made me come and do it was that Derby gave me a family to live with.
“They wanted me to be settled off the pitch and that really helped. If I had been going home to be by myself it would have been difficult.
“The family I still talk to and keep in touch with, they helped me a lot.”
Although it is a little less than two months since Riis arrived at PNE and there have been two international breaks in that time, he has already made 10 appearances.
Seven of those games he has started and his one goal to date came in the 3-0 win at Reading.
Like everyone at PNE, Riis finds it difficult to explain the contrast in their home and away form.
On Saturday, Preston head to Vicarage Road to play Watford. Then it is off to Bournemouth next Tuesday evening.
Two games against sides in the top five and both down after five seasons in the Premier League, might look quite daunting.
However, with how things have been going at Deepdale compared to life on the road, two away days look welcoming.
Riis said: “It’s one of those weird situations.
“We want to keep the away form going and improve at home. Of course we should be better at home but is hasn’t worked out like this season.
“With no fans in the grounds, there is not a lot of difference between playing home and away.
“Maybe what helps us in going to an away game as a group, we go the day before and stay together.
“That might make a difference, I don’t know.
“We’ve got a big challenge at Watford but we’ve played well against some of the top teams away. What we want to do is redeem ourselves after the Blackburn defeat.
“It meant a lot to us playing in a derby but we didn’t play well.
“Football is football, we have to prepare for the next game and not think about the last one.”
PNE’s next few games will remain behind closed doors, just the visit to Luton next month potentially having 2,000 fans there.
Looking back to how things were in Denmark, Riis said: “To start with the games were behind closed doors too.
“Then they opened it up to 500 spectators but that included the players, manager and staff.”
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