New signing John Arne Riise was officially unveiled to the media at today’s pre-game press conference which you can watch here. The 30 year old left back spoke of his brother’s influence on moving to Fulham but also says he wasn’t the main reason:
“I’ve settled in really well. I knew about the Club before I arrived through my brother, Bjorn. I’m really enjoying it and training has been really good.
“Bjorn obviously knows the Club well from the inside. He knows the players, the staff, and the way the Team trains and how the Club takes care of their players. I like the Manager and how the Chairman runs the Club, so there were a lot of factors involved in my decision to come to Fulham.
“I’m a Fulham player now and it was an easy decision. I enjoyed my time in Italy and I needed that experience for my career. I’ve now played in France, England and Italy.”
Despite being thirty, an age notoriously earmarked as the ‘its all downhill from here’ stage in every footballer’s career, Riise believes he is fit enough to play a key part in Fulham for a few seasons yet:
“I take my job very seriously and if I take care of my body, as I always do, then I’ve got quite a few years ahead of me.
“It’s high tempo all the time in England and the mentality is completely different. I’m happier with the English mentality and I’m looking forward to playing in the Premier League again.
“I’m a guy that likes to work hard on my fitness during the summer holidays. When I knew I could sign for Fulham during the summer that’s when I started the hard work. I did ten days of hard training on my own and felt good when I came here.
“I’m feeling fit and there’s still a month to go before the Premier League season starts again. I’m a couple a weeks behind the others in pre-season but I worked hard over the summer and I feel fit already. If I play tomorrow I’m ready for it and looking forward to it.”
Having been used to winning trophies over the years, including 7 in his spell at Liverpool and a League runners up medal two seasons ago with Roma, Riise is keen to bring Fulham success:
“Two seasons ago Fulham reached a major European Final, which was a great achievement. Now I want to help improve the Team and look to improve our finishing position in the League and see how we do in the Europa League.
“Hopefully we’ll get a better start than we did last year in the League, but to finish eighth was a great achievement. Any improvement on that will be good – we’ll have to take it one game at a time and see where we go.”
Riise will no doubt be a very good signing especially considering his cost and it is an impressive statement of intent of the Club to bring such a quality player so early in the window. I look forward to him playing tomorrow.