Liverpool loanee Sepp van den Berg impressed Preston North End boss

Sepp van den Berg’s full debut for Preston North End was one Alex Neil enjoyed watching.

Friday, 26th February 2021, 8:00 am

The Liverpool loanee made his first start in Wednesday night’s 0-0 draw with Queens Park Rangers.

He played at right-back, a slight departure from his recognised centre-half role.

It was a job Van den Berg, 19, did well and North End boss Neil could be tempted to use him there tomorrow against Huddersfield at Deepdale.

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On-loan defender Sepp van den Berg

Neil said: “I thought Sepp was excellent. We played both full-backs in a certain way in terms of keeping them in.

“They weren’t as expansive going forward because we wanted to stop QPR getting a lot of crosses in.

“We knew Sepp was good on the ball, quick and a good size in terms of defending crosses into the box.

“I thought his was a really good performance and he can be pleased with it.

“It is not uncommon for young centre-backs to play as full-backs, especially if they are mobile.

“You’ll see that quite a few centre-backs have played as full-backs at some stage of their careers.

“What they can do is learn their reading of the game from that position.”

It was a much-changed defence which Neil fielded in midweek, which helped deliver only a third clean sheet since the turn of the year.

Jordan Storey and Andrew Hughes played at centre-half, Greg Cunningham operating at left-back.

The Storey/Hughes pairing was due to the loss of Liam Lindsay to injury.

Four games in quick succession for Lindsay after being out of the picture at Stoke for 12 months, caught up with the Scottish defender according to Neil.

Looking at the defensive performance against QPR, Neil said: “I thought Greg’s display was excellent.

“Andrew Hughes gave us a natural balance, he’s very good in the air and mobile.

“Him and Jordan struck a really good balance. I know they got caught with one long ball in the first half but for two lads who haven’t really played together, I thought they performed very well.”

After giving the players the day off yesterday to recover, Neil will run the rule over them at Euxton today as he gets ready to face Huddersfield.

Lindsay’s fitness will be looked at, so too Ryan Ledson and Sean Maguire who have missed games of late.

“There’s no messing in the Championship, you are straight into the next game,” said Neil.

“We are trying to bed the team in at the same time as winning games.

“Although we only won one of the last four games, I think in three of them we have been quite strong.”

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