Dutch defender Sepp van den Berg wants a central role in Preston team next season

Sepp van den Berg says he is focused on proving himself as a centre-half at Preston North End this season after his use at right-back and wing-back in the last campaign.

Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 8:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 8:00 am

The Dutch teenager enjoyed his loan spell from Liverpool so much in the second-half of last term that he has returned for a full season. Putting more games on his football CV is important but he’d like the majority of those to come in the middle.

It is not something van den Berg is demanding, he knows he has to work to prove himself as a centre-half.

Attempting to prove to PNE head coach Frankie McAvoy that he is worth a start in the middle will be a work in progress in pre-season training.

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Sepp van den Berg
Sepp van den Berg

Van den Berg told the Lancashire Post: “This year I would prefer playing as a centre-back. If I’m needed somewhere else I will happily play there but my main focus in pre-season is to show the gaffer he can trust me in the middle.

“I like right-back and I like wing-back but centre-half is my position.

“Last season I showed I could play half a season in the Championship which is a tough league, now I have to show I can play a full season.”

Playing right-back and as a wing-back last season wasn’t a totally new experience for the 19-year-old.

He was put there more as a needs-must to start with and really settled in well.

Van den Berg started 15 games on the bounce between late February and the end of the season.

“When I was young I used to be a right-back and then I went to centre-back,” said the teenager.

“I’d play there again but it would be preferable to be a centre-back this season.”

Liverpool were happy to let North End have van den Berg back this season despite there being plenty of offers in this country and abroad to take him on loan.

Looking back on how the return unfolded during the summer break, van den Berg said: “I went back to Liverpool to look at how things had gone for Preston.

“They were happy and I was happy as well. Then I went away to have a break to think about this season.

“I knew Preston wanted me back from the start. I spoke to the gaffer again about the plans. There were other options but this was the best option for me.”

Meanwhile, Peter Ridsdale has been appointed as a director at North End. The move was registered with Companies House yesterday.

Ridsdale, who is advisor to PNE owner, Trevor Hemmings, entered into a seven-and-a-half year disqualification as a company director in 2012, a ban which ended last year.

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