Van Hecke: I learned a lot from Dunk on my full debut

Defender made his first Premier League start against Leicester City.

By Charlie Hanson • 25 January 2023

By Paul Hazlewood
Jan Paul van Hecke made his first Premier League start in the 2-2 draw with Leicester City.

Jan Paul van Hecke has praised skipper Lewis Dunk’s leadership after the Dutchman made his full Premier League bow in the 2-2 draw at Leicester City.

“You can learn a lot from the experienced players here,” he said. “If you’re alongside Dunk it’s easy to play because he talks to you a lot. It was good for me.

“If you look around, we have a lot of young players. The average age is really low, so that’s good for Brighton.

“Now everyone’s really hopeful for the rest of the season because we’re doing really well under this manager – everyone’s excited.”


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PL Highlights: Leicester 2 Albion 2

The 22-year-old gave a fair assessment of his first start. Previously, most of his first-team football experience in England coming in the Championship during his loan spell with Blackburn Rovers last season, where he won their Player of the Season award.

"I think I did well in the first half against Leicester, some good passes between the lines, defending well. The second half was alright but, if I am being critical, for their second goal I could maybe have done a bit better because if I had opened up my body I could have blocked the ball.

“Overall, I think it was good that I got my first game and got a lot of experience from it.

By Paul Hazlewood
Lewis Dunk runs over to celebrate with Kaoru Mitoma after his opening goal against Leicester, Jan Paul van Hecke is clearly impressed by Kaoru's strike.

“The Championship is different to the Premier League. It's more up and down, you lose a lot of balls so every detail needs to be right. It was a good learning curve for me."

The defender is aiming for more opportunities in Roberto De Zerbi’s team, but accepts he faces stiff competition for a starting spot.

"If you look around you there are a lot of good players, especially in my position, so you need to be patient and wait for your chance. Middlesbrough [in the FA Cup] was a good game for me and now this chance came up. Three to four months was a long time to wait for an opportunity, but I am happy to get into the team.”