When Liverpool signed center-back Ben Davies from Preston North End as an emergency defensive reinforcement in January, they sent 19-year-old Sepp van den Berg the other way on loan as part of the deal. While van den Berg’s loan to Preston was little more than a footnote to many, it’s been very exciting for the Dutch center-back.
“I will never forget the time I have had here and hopefully it will be next season as well, you never know,” van den Berg said in an interview for Preston’s matchday program. “But I will follow PNE for sure.”
Though he has only been in Preston for three months, the city and the club have already made quite an impression on van den Berg.
“If I still live close by, if I stay at Liverpool, and if the fans are allowed back, I will come back as a fan next season, if I am not here playing.”
A connection to his temporary home isn’t the only thing the Dutch youth international has gained in his short time on loan. He’s also gained valuable playing time in a competitive league, and he believes that experience is already paying dividends.
“When I arrived, I hadn’t had so much experience,” he admitted. “I have played a few games in Holland, a few games for Liverpool, but it’s not that I am an experienced defender. Defenders of my age, it’s hard to play, especially at the level I am playing at now, and the Championship is a really hard league.”
Preston has started van den Berg in each of their last 13 matches, most often deploying him at right-back, and recently even testing him as a midfielder. So, it would seem they have trust and confidence in the Liverpool loanee, and it’s quite clear he is enjoying himself.
“It’s a big step in my career to be able to play here. I feel good at the club, and the people have helped me settle, and that’s why I think I have been playing well.
“I have been feeling well in the changing room, and I hope it shows on the pitch.”
With the young defender unlikely to be anything more than an emergency option for the Reds next season, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see van den Berg’s loan extended as it would be a win for all involved.