Preston North End wing-backs Sepp van den Berg and Josh Earl win praise for role in victory against Swansea City

Frankie McAvoy was pleased with how Preston North End’s pair of wing-backs contributed to the weekend victory over Swansea City.

Monday, 30th August 2021, 5:42 pm
Updated Monday, 30th August 2021, 8:13 pm

Lilywhites head coach McAvoy enjoyed seeing the energy Sepp van den Berg and Josh Earl brought to the attacking play.

The duo combined for PNE’s first goal, Earl’s cross from the left controlled by van den Berg in the box and drilled past Swansea goalkeeper Steven Benda.

Both got forward at will as the game went on, providing North End with their width.

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Sepp van den Berg is congratulated by Preston team-mates Emil Riis and Ryan Ledson after scoring against Swansea

McAvoy told the Lancashire Post: “I’ve been encouraging the two young lads to get up the pitch.

“Both have magnificent energy and legs to get up and down, it’s great to see them do as they did on Saturday.

“I said to them both to be aggressive and get into the box. We saw Sepp score his goal and Josh had a chance.

“Both of them deserve immense credit and we want to see them doing that all of the time.”

PNE left wing-back Josh Earl

Prior to the start of the season, neither van den Berg or Earl might have been regarded as PNE’s first-choice wing-backs.

Although it was a role van den Berg played well in the latter stages of last season, his preference when coming back on loan from Liverpool this time was to operate in the centre of defence.

His one appearance in the middle came last week at Morecambe in the Carabao Cup, the Dutch teenager otherwise preferred in the wing-back role by McAvoy.

Earl was brought into the team at left wing-back at Huddersfield and has played three Championship games on the spin.

After three spells away on loan in the last two seasons at Bolton, Ipswich and Burton, he will be looking to nail down a regular slot.

In the middle, Jordan Storey, Patrick Bauer and Andrew Hughes have teamed-up in the centre of defence for the last two league games. Bauer replacing the isolating Liam Lindsay has been the big change, with the German steering himself towards peak fitness after a lengthy injury lay-off.

McAvoy felt the back line getting more comfortable on the ball contributed to the win on Saturday.

“Our first goal was the first time we had tried to play out from the back,” said McAvoy.

“Swansea had a good high press and it takes a bit of courage to play round it.

“Once Pat did that, we moved up the pitch and got the ball into the box where we scored the goal.

"That was pleasing for me."

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