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When you consider that Preston North End are located just a stone’s throw from some of England’s biggest clubs, it is no real surprise that the Lilywhites make such good use of the loan market.

Highly-rated youngsters from Manchester City, Everton and now Liverpool have made the move to Deepdale in recent times.

And, on his full debut for the Championship outfit, Sepp Van den Berg wasted little time in showing Preston supporters why Liverpool were so keen to beat Bayern Munich to his signature two years ago.

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He may be a centre-half by trade but the rangy Dutchman looked very much at home in an unfamiliar right-back role as Preston kept a clean sheet against a rejuvenated QPR side on Wednesday night.

Tidy on the ball and solid without it, has Alex Neil just found a defender capable of reinforcing a defence that has conceded more than a goal-a-game on average this season?

The early signs certainly look good.

“Excellent,” Neil told LancsLive when asked to assess Van den Berg’s first 90 minute showing in Preston colours.

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“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. 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.

“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.”

It seems that the Deepdale faithful share Neil’s enthusiasm for a 19-year-old defender who, if he can build on a fine start to life in an all-new position, will return to Anfield this summer with another string to his bow.

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In other news, Report: Tottenham can sign target for under £17m, after Chelsea were quoted £27m in August