Sepp van den Berg has noticed a “massive difference” in his game since making his first appearance on loan at Preston North End in February 2021.
The on-loan Liverpool defender has featured over 50 times for the club over the course of his two spells at Deepdale, and he feels his game has really developed since his arrival.
“It’s a big difference,” he said. “I know it’s a bit of a cliché but even if I look back at some clips from the first games, it’s just a big difference.
“I’m getting older as well so I’m getting bigger and everything, but it’s a massive difference in my opinion.
“50 [appearances] already! I’d been looking into how many games I’d played a few weeks ago and it’s going really quick, especially this season.
“I think I’ve missed one game with injury and everything else I’ve played. I think it’s been a very good time here and for me to play every game is very good, it’s what I came here for.”
The 20-year-old, who has made four senior appearances for parent club Liverpool, first signed on loan for PNE at the start of February 2021 before returning on a season-long loan in the summer.
Sepp has been an integral part of the side this campaign, playing more minutes in the Championship than any other outfielder in the squad, and he’s got his eye very much set on finishing the season strongly.
He said: “It’s been a pleasure to be here; everything has been great personally. Football wise as well I think we’ve been doing very well this season, especially the second half and hopefully we can keep that going.
“Personally and as a team [hopefully we can] just keep doing better and better, and hopefully we can get to the Play-Offs this season.
“It’s gone really well and I’ve really enjoyed being here.”
The majority of his performances have come on the right-hand side of a back three, especially since the appointment of Ryan Lowe, and the defence have been tight recently, keeping four clean sheets in the last five games.
They’ve come after a spell without a shut-out in the previous 12 games, and the Netherlands U21 international feels the reason for that has been the adjustment to their new manager’s tactics.
“It’s a different type of playing, a more risky one as well playing out from the back,” he added.
“We just had to get used to that and I think now as a back three, or back five, whatever you want to call it, just us in a defensive shape has been way better, so I think that’s just the reason why.
“And just working hard for each other. I think you can see when you watch the games, when we lose the ball we try to win it straight back and when the opposition counter attack everyone is running back as well, so it’s just been better and better in the last few games and you can see that in the results.”
Next up is a trip to Peterborough United, to face Darren Ferguson’s side who sit 22nd in the Championship, but Sepp is certainly not taking anything for granted.
Sepp added: “I’ve been surprised many times in this league since I’ve been here. Everyone can beat everyone.
“Of course we’ve beaten top teams before, but we’ve lost against low teams so it’s just a different game and another one where you have to set your mind, focus, and give it your all, and hopefully you can get a good result.
“It’s not going to be an easy game, that’s what we all know, so we just need to be prepared.”
Hear more from Sepp in his full pre-match interview on iFollow PNE.