Sepp van den Berg targets central role for Preston North End after signing on loan again from Liverpool
Sepp van den Berg wants to show what he can do in the centre of Preston North End’s defence next season.
The Liverpool defender rejoined PNE on a season’s loan yesterday.
Van den Berg, 19, had a successful loan stint in the second half of last season.
In the main he played at right-back or right wing-back, however long term it is in the middle where he wants to play.
North End had been close to a deal for Van den Berg for a little while.
They had got Liverpool’s agreement to bring him back to Deepdale and then held talks over Zoom with the teenager about returning.
There were Championship clubs interested in him but he opted for a return to Deepdale.
The actual signing of the loan paperwork had to wait until Van den Berg was back in the Netherlands after being on holiday in Ibiza.
Him wanting game time as a centre-back will add to the competition at the heart of the defence.
It also make bringing in a right-back/wing-back an important piece of business.
Van den Berg played a couple of times in the middle in last season’s loan stay.
His debut as a substitute against Rotherham saw him play at centre-half.
When Liam Lindsay was ineligible to play against Stoke City, Van den Berg moved inside to play on the right-hand side of a three.
Speaking to PNE’s official website, Van den Berg said: “I enjoyed playing at right-back, even at right wing-back.
“That developed me in one versus one and attacking wise.
“I would love to play more as a centre-back this season and show everyone I can play there. I will try to impress the gaffer and hopefully he will play me at centre-back this season.”
PNE head coach Frankie McAvoy spoke about the possibility of Van den Berg operating in the middle, saying: “Sepp came as a right centre-back. He didn’t get many games playing in that position, but he fitted in really well as a right back and then as a right wing-back.
“I thought he was fantastic. I think he’s done really well and we’ll see how he does at right centre-back.
“What he’s got to try and do is go again for the second time and hopefully produce what I and the coaching staff believe that he’s capable of.”
North End have looked at options for the right-back/wing-back role.
They have spoken with former Rotherham defender Matthew Olosunde who has left the Millers after turning down a new contract.
Right-back is a vacancy which has needed filling longer-term since late in the January transfer window when Darnell Fisher was sold to Middlesbrough.
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