Veltman: van Hecke was amazing

Dutch double act played pivotal part in Albion seeing out Saturday's win over Forest.

By Charlie Hanson • 26 November 2023

By Paul Hazlewood
Jan Paul van Hecke helped ten man Albion to all three points at the City Ground.

Joel Veltman was incredibly impressed by fellow Dutchman Jan Paul van Hecke’s performance against Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

Goals from Evan Ferguson and Joao Pedro (2) secured a 3-2 victory for Roberto De Zerbi’s team, with the win even more special as Albion saw out the final 25 minutes with ten men after Lewis Dunk’s dismissal.

van Hecke proved key to keeping the Reds at bay, to help secure Albion a first win in seven Premier League games.

“He was amazing, defensively and with the ball he’s making big steps. Last year he didn’t play that much, but he’s still young and every game he played he was learning from the experience and putting it in his backpack,” said Veltman.


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“Now he is amazing. It’s a good opportunity for him. [Adam] Webster and Igor [Julio] are injured, so he needs to be there and he was. The balls he was playing into midfield, it’s like he’s 31 or something.

“It was funny because sometimes we were speaking Dutch to each other and the opponents were looking at us like ‘what do they mean?’, because of that we had loads of solutions with crossing and that kind of thing - the whole defence did well.

“I think he is really close to the national team,” Joel said. “For his age, playing in the Premier League, he’s getting there. People have been calling for him to be in the national team. We have a lot of central defenders, but I hope he will be in the squad.”

Albion’s celebrations at the end of the win at the City Ground will go down as some of the most memorable in our Premier League era as Roberto De Zerbi and the rest of the staff and players on the bench raced over to the fans.

By Paul Hazlewood
Joel Veltman enjoyed the post match celebrations.

“You saw at the end, the way we were celebrating says it all. We didn’t win for a few games in the Premier League, but we’re seventh in the table now – we won with fighting spirit,” added Joel.

“We were down to ten men, Ansu [Fati] and Tariq [Lamptey] went off injured. If you look at the bench the average age was about 20. The relief when the referee blew the whistle was next level.

“I was so happy that I threw my shirt into the crowd at the end, but I accidentally threw my GPS too!

“So that was sad, I had to go back and try and ask for it – the supporters probably thought I was asking for my shirt back, but I need my GPS back! Hopefully the power of social media will help me get it.”