It has been confirmed that 19-year-old Sepp van den Berg will return to Preston North End for the 2021/22 season.
The youngster was signed from PEC Zwolle following Liverpool’s Champions League win in 2019, and has made a total of four senior appearances for the Reds.
He initially went out on loan to Preston in 2021, and has made 16 appearances for the side — most appearances throughout his career have come at centerback, but he has played the majority of his minutes at Preston North End at right back or right wing back.
van den Berg spoke about being happy to rejoin the Lilywhites when he spoke to pnefc.net.
“I’m very pleased. I said it last season at the end that I would love to come back and I was really happy it worked out. I’m just looking forward to playing a whole season now and playing from the start.
“The players who were there last season, I liked every one of them, so coming back now and knowing most of them is really nice. Especially for a loan player who comes in, of course it’s always new, but now I come back for the second year and knowing the staff and most of the players is just really good. It gives you a good feeling straight away and really helps, so I’m happy with that.”
van den Berg spoke, also, about the challenges he’s faced as a young player coming to a new country and a new league.
“It was tough. Coming from Holland to Liverpool was a big step and playing in the Championship is hard. It’s really physical, really quick as well. I’ve been running a lot on the right wing at right back, but it’s been really good.
“U23s football is good as well but I felt like I needed that other step. Championship football is, in my opinion, a very good league and very hard football, so playing regularly here every weekend, every game basically, was really good for me so hopefully I can do the same this season.
“Last season I really enjoyed playing right back to be fair, even right wing back. Like I said last season, it developed me as well, helped me more one-v-one and more attacking wise, but I would love to play centre back more this season just to show everyone I can play there as well. I will try to impress the gaffer and hopefully he will play me centre back this season.”
Frankie McAvoy, the PNE head coach, had a number of positive words to say about the return of the Dutch youth international, as well.
“We’re absolutely delighted. We’re very grateful to Liverpool for allowing him to come back here and obviously to Sepp for choosing to come back to us.
“He loved his time here last season. He’s a young boy learning his trade and for me he’s fitted in well with a group that made him feel welcome and a part of it.
“He 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.”
Liverpool fans will be delighted to learn of the potential for the youngster to get experience in his natural position, though his flexibility and ability to play elsewhere on the pitch might well speak to his character and self-confidence.