Liverpool gjorde nyligen sommarens första nyförvärv och jag tror vi var ganska många som inte hade någon jättekoll på den unge holländaren som kritade på kontraktet. För att få en bra bild av Sepp van den Berg kontaktade vi Michael Statham(@EredivisieMike), som både skriver texter och youtubar för @FootballOranje_, han berättar här om sin syn på vår nyaste spelare:
1. Liverpool recently signed van den Berg from Zwolle, how did they do as a team last season?
PEC Zwolle aren’t one of the strongest Dutch Eredivisie teams – finishing 13th after a battle with relegation last season – but they gave van den Berg opportunities to show himself in a good quality European top flight.
2. When did van den Berg get into the starting eleven and how did they use him?
Van den Berg earnt his debut towards the end of 17/18, playing six times at the end of the campaign having just turned 16. After a short cameo in his debut, his first start came in a 3-4 defeat to Dutch giants Feyenoord – such is the faith shown by Eredivisie clubs in the youth talents they produce. Last season, PEC struggled defensively, especially in the centre of defence. It’s strange then that van den Berg was limited to only 15 appearances at centre-back, given the club’s woes defensively and the promise shown by the teenager. The great defender Jaap Stam was also manager of Zwolle, adding further confusion as to why the centre-back was not moulded and given more chances to shine.
3. How would you describe him as a player? Any similarities to other Dutch players?
It’s hard to compare when van den Berg is so young. Van den Berg is a ball-playing centre-back who is strongest as a defender when the ball is on the ground to help build the play. He’s not yet a strong beast, like Virgil van Dijk or Matthijs De Ligt, but can win tackles and read the play in his area. Van den Berg is not yet fully-formed as a footballing adult; hence his aerial ability can suffer against big strikers and his pressing could improve of players attacking his box.
4. What do you think of his choice to sign for Liverpool?
I think van den Berg made the wrong choice in signing for Liverpool. He should have fought further for his place at PEC Zwolle or chosen to move to PSV, where he could have played regularly in their second team (in the Dutch second tier) and used as a back-up in his first season. Dutch top teams have a well-known reputation for bringing through youth, so it was disappointing to see van den Berg choose to move abroad, and particularly England, where many players in the past have struggled to break through to the first teams of their clubs, such as Donyell Malen (Arsenal, now PSV) and Javairo Dilrosun (Manchester City, now Hertha Berlin).
5. How good do you think this signing is for Liverpool?
It depends how van den Berg develops; if he is allowed to play games at a high enough standard to improve. It could be that Jurgen Klopp puts faith in the youngster and plays a big part of the Liverpool first team squad. I predict that he will one day be good enough for a Dutch national team place and regular football at a club that competes regularly in Europe. However, you never know if you have another De Ligt on your hands…