Preston boss Alex Neil has admitted that he brought on Sepp van den Berg against Rotherham United in an attempt to progress the ball more efficiently from the back.
North End slumped to a 2-1 defeat on Saturday afternoon, with a Joe Rafferty own goal and a Ben Wiles strike handing Rotherham all three points.
Ched Evans pulled one back for Preston but it wasn’t to be, with Neil looking to somehow bed in eight new signings.
One of them is Van den Berg, who has joined on loan until the end of the season as part of the deal that saw Ben Davies join Liverpool on deadline day.
Van den Berg is highly rated at Liverpool, but needs senior minutes after impressing in their Under-23 side this season.
The 19-year-old was a substitute on Saturday, but was introduced with less than 20 minutes to play, replacing Paul Huntington.
Some wondered whether Huntington was injured, but it seems that the change was more of a tactical one as Neil looked to chase an equaliser.
Neil has told Lancs Live that he wanted Van den Berg to help build attacks from the back and deal with counter-attacks – Huntington isn’t exactly known for either of those things.
He’s a very old school centre back, with Van den Berg seen as more of a forward-thinking defender – and we’ll now see if the Liverpool loanee will be trusted in Friday’s big game at Blackburn Rovers.
“I thought his comfort on the ball was going to make it easier to build from the back and to get the ball into better areas, quicker,” said Neil. “And I thought with counter-attacking pace, we were leaving ourselves vulnerable. We needed someone who could get back in there as quickly as possible and make sure they matched that,” he added.