Joel Veltman is being regularly quizzed about what Manchester United can expect from their incoming new boss.

So is his daughter from a United fan at school as Erik ten Hag prepares to take over at Old Trafford.

Ten Hag made Veltman his captain at Ajax and the Albion defender expects his old boss to fare well in the Premier League.

But his current role in a back three is bringing back memories of another man who had time in the United hot seat as they sought to regain former glories.

Veltman has played on the right of a trio with Lewis Dunk and Marc Cucerella in recent matches.

It is a relatively new role for him – and Louis van Gaal was the man responsible for his previous limited experience.

Veltman was brought up playing what he recognises as Total Football in a 4-3-3.

Then Van Gaal changed that on the biggest international stage.

Veltman said: “I already played (in a back three) a couple of times in the national team at the 2014 World Cup with Van Gaal.

“He was introducing that into the team and everybody was like, ‘What the hell are we doing?’.

“With total football you play 4-3-3.

“Then Van Gaal came with this system of 5-3-2 and everyone was like, ‘What do we do, where do we have to move?’.

“But we did well and we came third in the World Cup in Brazil.”

Veltman says Ten Hag is steeped in Total Football but with a modern touch.

He added: “New things as well.

“That is what Guardiola does at Manchester City and that is what Ten Hag wants to do as well.

“Say with Joao Cancelo, he is a right-back but he is coming inside and the winger is dropping a little bit and kind of changes in a team.

“That is what Ten Hag does as well.

“In Holland we are tactically really good but sometimes when you play a team like a Burnley, a physical team, in Holland we can have a lot of problems still.

“But we still think football-wise, if you play the ball fast, fast and switch it from side to side, you can win those games.

“That’s why I came to Brighton as well.

“I knew Graham (Potter) was there and he loves to play from the back, play lovely football, attractive football.

“Even before Graham, they already played quite nice football and he was more like the finishing touch for that.

“I knew I can play that kind of football at Ajax and Brighton does the same but at a higher level in the Premier League.”

Veltman is pleased with progress Albion have made in his second Prem season.


He said: “I think last year in a couple of games, like Crystal Palace, we were much better but then they got the three points.

“Sometimes this season we weren’t better but we got the draw at the end and didn’t lose.

“That is a step up for us.”

And then there was that 90-minute display of what might be termed Total Football to outclass Wolves last Saturday.

Veltman said: “I knew we can do that but for 90 minutes we did great.

“They only had one chance and it was in the 90th minute.

“It was good to see we can perform well for the full 90 minutes.”

Veltman will hope for the same today – and will probably expect a few more questions about Ten Hag from visitors from the North West.

He said: “It has been more like media and some people here in England who are saying ‘What is Ten Hag like?’.

“My daughter goes to school and a class-mate of hers is a United fan as well.

“He is already saying, ‘How is Ten Hag? Is he good? Does he do good things for our club?’.

“That type of thing.”