Jan Paul van Hecke has been told a tough debut season with Albion has paid off as he pushes for international selection.

The Dutch centre-back was outstanding in his side’s 3-2 win at Nottingham forest on Saturday.

Albion will need more of the same when they go to Chelsea on Saturday without the suspended Lewis Dunk and injured Adam Webster.

Van Hecke had little game time last term but fellow defender Joel Veltman said: “He was still young.

“Every game he played, it was experience.

“He put it all in his backpack, I would say.

“Now he is amazing and it is so good for him.

“The balls he played through the midfield, it was like he was 31 or something.”

Veltman would love to see van Hecke join Albion goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen in the Dutch national squad.

He said: “I think he is really close to the national team.

“Playing in the Premier League, he is getting there.

“Some people named him already to put him in the national team.

“We have so many central defenders but I thought he would be in the squad.

“I hope for him - but I think he is close to the national team.

The Dutch duo teamed up in the middle for the closing stages at forest and were able to confuse opponents with their communication.

Van Hecke said: “If it is face-to-face or with opponents close to us, we speak Dutch.

“In general we speak English because everyone can understand that.”