Sepp van den Berg has revealed that he spoke to Burnley about a potential loan move this season but he didn’t want to spend another season in the second division of English football.
The central defender instead joined Bundesliga outfit Schalke after spending the previous 18 months on loan at Preston North End where he emphasised how the Deepdale outfit helped him develop physically.
He’s featured in all three games for the German side since completing his loan switch with the Veltins Arena outfit currently sat 14th in the league.
The Dutchman has admitted that he knew another loan move was likely this summer with him currently having to compete alongside the likes of Ibrahima Konate, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez for a starting spot alongside Virgil Van Dijk at Liverpool.
“To be honest, I already knew during pre-season that I would be loaned out. The chance of playing time at Liverpool is of course small,” he told ELF Voetbal (via Lancs Live).
“It was nice that I was on the bench for four more games in the Premier League this season. But I learn the most when I play.
“Over the last year and a half I gained a lot of experience at Preston North End in Championship. Just look at my shoulders. I have gained ten kilos, only muscle mass.
“Another year Championship was not my preference.
“I spoke with Burnley, but I still wanted a step higher. The Bundesliga was my preference.”
The 20-year-old made a whopping 50 appearances for Preston last term (across all competitions) and it’s great to see that he’s eager to continue his development further.
In order to play for Liverpool, then you have to be ready and it’s clear that he’s gaining vital experience during his loan spells.
The Bundesliga will pose a different challenge for the central defender this season and it will be interesting to see how he fares coming up against Champions League sides like Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig.
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He certainly has time on his side and the fact that he’s hungry for more first-team game time rather than sitting on the bench at Anfield indicates that he’s got a bright future ahead of him.
Van den Berg is a Netherlands U21 international and he has the perfect role model in Virgil van Dijk, the senior national side’s captain, to learn from at his parent club.
We wish the youngster all the best for this season and let’s hope he returns back to Merseyside a better player at the end of the campaign.