De Zerbi: van Hecke has incredible confidence

Defender van Hecke has made 17 appearances this season and signed a new contract on Friday.

By Bruce Talbot • 17 December 2023

By Paul Hazlewood
Jan Paul van Hecke has played in our last six Premier League games, ahead of the trip to Arsenal.

Roberto De Zerbi has praised Jan Paul van Hecke's incredible levels of confidence, after the Dutch defender signed a well-deserved new contract this week.

Previously, Albion’s head coach has spoken about how impressed he has been with Jan Paul's rapid rise, and ahead of today’s trip to Arsenal revealed just what makes him tick.

“I think the most important quality of JP is the balance between the arrogance and the confidence in himself. He is not arrogant but his confidence in himself is high, high, high,” De Zerbi explained.

“It is his secret to keep this level because he has an incredible personality, shows incredible leadership and he is so young. It's not common to see one young player with that level of personality.”

The 23-year-old hasn't looked back since he forced his way into De Zerbi’s plans last season in a 2-2 draw at Leicester in January.

This season Jan Paul has become a regular at the heart of Albion's defence, making 17 appearances in all competitions including six consecutive Premier League starts.

But he has had to be patient, despite a desire to be part of Roberto's starting XI since his arrival just over a year ago.

By Paul Hazlewood
Jan Paul van Hecke joined Albion in 2020.

“Last season we fought... but we fought in a good way,” added De Zerbi. “We spoke a lot together. I am very proud of JP, and Billy [Gilmour]. They are both great guys and deserve to play in this level now. Their improvement has been fantastic.

“For young players, I think Brighton is one of the best teams to progress at, to play and improve. If they have the ambitions to reach the highest level, there are not many places better to be at than Brighton.”