Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi praises underrated Jan Paul van Hecke

Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi has been thoroughly impressed by the performances of defender Jan Paul van Hecke this season.

De Zerbi credited the Dutch centre-back after the Seagulls kept their first clean sheet in 24 Premier League games on Tuesday, in the goalless draw against West Ham.

Van Hecke recently signed a new contract with Brighton to keep him at the club until 2027.

“He is improving in an incredible way,” De Zerbi told the media after the clash with the Irons.

“He’s actually older than his age. His level is high, higher than people think.”

The 23-year-old defender has made 21 appearances for De Zerbi’s charges this season, after spells at Heerenveen and Blackburn Rovers.

Brighton have only lost once in their last five games and enjoy seventh position on the Premier League table.