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'Really strong': Alex Neil full of praise as Sepp van den Berg debuts

Alex Neil appeared to like what he saw as Sepp van den Berg made his full debut for Preston North End on Wednesday. The Liverpool youngster joined in January.

Sepp van den Berg started for Preston North End in a 0-0 home draw against Queens Park Rangers on Wednesday. It was his first for the club.

And it came in a different position. While we know Van den Berg as a centre-back, Alex Neil started him as a right-back.

We consider that as something of a risk – he’s a young player on debut, after all – but it’s one that paid off. Van den Berg reportedly played well and Neil certainly sounded impressed.

“We know Sepp is very good on the ball, he’s quick and gives us good size in terms of defending crosses into the box,” said Neil, per Lancashire Live.

“I thought he had a really good performance for his first game, really strong.

“Defensively he was strong, on the ball he was strong and got his distances right – he’s a good player and with your first game at any club, you always want to set a marker down.

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“I think tonight a lot of fans will look at him and hope that he can continue that because I thought he was very good.

“He played men’s football at 16-years-old, he is certainly confident and I think he believes in his ability.”

The stats

The stats paint a decent picture for Van den Berg, too. For instance, he was heavily involved – only one player from either side touched the ball more.

He used that possession well, too, completing the second-most passes in the game. No one created more chances, either, as Van den Berg set up two shots.

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Two tackles, two interceptions, three clearances – there’s a lot to like about Van den Berg’s stas, here. The only negatives being that he was dribbled past once and won one out of two headers.

Overall, though, very promising from a youngster on his full debut for a new club. Van den Berg is definitely one we’ll keep an eye on.

All stats per Whoscored.

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