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First Team News

PNE Has Felt Like Home To Sepp

13 May 2022

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First Team News

PNE Has Felt Like Home To Sepp

13 May 2022

Sepp van den Berg admitted Preston North End has felt like home during his stay at Deepdale.

The Liverpool defender first arrived in PR1 at the beginning of February 2021, before then sealing a return to the club last summer on a season-long loan.

He made 66 appearances during his time with the Lilywhites – 50 of those coming in the 2021/22 season – and he ended the campaign with the Young Player of the Year award, as voted for by the fans.

Speaking to iFollow PNE, Sepp said: “It’s a good finish to the season.

“Without the team, the staff and the fans I wouldn’t be doing this season anyway, so it’s been a very good season and to get a trophy like that is always very nice.

“It’s been amazing. It’s only been one and a half seasons, but it’s felt like a long time because I’ve really enjoyed it.

“I can really say I feel at home here; the team feels like family to be honest. I love the fans so it’s been amazing.”

Initially arriving with little experience of professional football, the Dutch defender feels he has grown a lot as a player and a person during his time in Lancashire.

The Netherlands U21 international was often used at wing back in the earlier parts of his loan spells, before more recently establishing himself on the right-hand side of the back three.

That’s where he started the final game of the 2021/22 season, a 4-1 victory over Middlesbrough, and it was after the match when he was awarded with his trophy.

“The most important thing is we finished with a win,” Sepp added.

“Especially for the people saying goodbye, for me as well, it’s always better to end with a win.

“I think going forward for the team next year as well, the fans can see how much we’ve grown this season, how much better we’ve started playing, so hopefully next year I want to see the stadium sold out every game, but it’s been a good last game and I can be proud of the season.”

Having been North End’s most-used player in the campaign just finished, there were many positive moments in Sepp’s season, but he highlighted two in particular which stick out in his mind.

He said: “The Blackpool game at home. We won 1-0 and the stadium was awesome.

“Playing Liverpool in the Carabao Cup over here was an amazing atmosphere as well.

“Basically I just love playing in this stadium in front of the fans, but those will definitely keep in my memory.

“I will go back [to Liverpool now]. I’ve been great over here so I’ll take that back to Liverpool and see if I can do the same over there. I don’t know yet, but I will see.”

Wherever Sepp is next season, he feels confident – given the progress PNE have made over the course of the campaign – that a top-six finish is within reach in 2022/23.

“We’ve grown a lot this season,” he concluded. “So I think for the new manager coming in, [it’s about] building of course.

“I think a few players are leaving this year so he needs a few new names, but they’ll be fine.

“They’ve got a very good scouting [network] here anywhere so I reckon they will fight for Play-Offs next year.”

You can watch Sepp's interview on iFollow PNE for free by clicking play on the video above.

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