Bart Verbruggen will need to adapt, grow and learn on his path to becoming one of Europe’s top goalkeepers.

And he might reflect on that in the days after Roberto De Zerbi left his post as Albion head coach.

Although he did not actually play in the final match, Verbruggen finished the season as the Seagulls’ No.1 between the sticks.

Between the hammering at Roma and the season-ender at home to Manchester United, he started ten of 11 games.

Clearly a big presence between the sticks and a confident young character, he was initially  some way behind Jason Steele in terms of producing the style of build-up play favoured by De Zerbi.

At one stage, that put him in the position of being first choice for his country but not his club.

It would appear that changed largely because he got to grips with what De Zerbi wants in possession.

Those lessons will stand him in good stead for whatever happens next.

One imagines Albion will not appoint a coach who wants his goalkeeper to thump the ball aimlessly down the pitch.

But, asking De Zerbi about the goalkeeper in what turned out to be his final pre-match press conference, it became clear what difference he saw between Verbruggen at the start of the 2023-24 season and by the end of it.

He told The Argus: “I think his improvement has been big.

“In build-up for example, in personality, in knowledge of our style and of a different lague, different country.

“I am very happy for the goalkeepers.

“Bart Verbruggen and Jason Steele are both very good goalkeepers for us, “For our level we have to consider ourselves lucky to have two goalkeepers of this level.”

De Zerbi spoke several times last season about his belief that Verbruggen can become a top keeper.

But he has had to be patient.

That patience was perhaps most greatly tested in Rome.

Having been on the bench for the two previous games, at Wolves and Fulham, it seemed likely he would get the start at the Olimpico.

That he did not was perhaps as surprising as De Zerbi leaving experienced duo Adam Lallana and Joel Veltman on the bench.

Verbruggen never had more than three successive games out of the side. That was the second such occasion.

It also happened in October, with the games away to Manchester City and then at home to Ajax and Fulham.

De Zerbi made it clear he was making match-by-match tactical decisions with his keepers rather than rotating them.

That was backed up for a long time by the fact the same keeper would usually play home and away against the same opponents, certainly in the Premier League.

Such thinking re-emerged later on when De Zerbi brought back Steele to play against the two Manchester clubs.

Certainly against City, that looked like a tactical decision in a bid for improved play out from the back as he tried to take on Pep Guardiola’s side.

There was also a high level of respect for Steele, who played a big part in Albion’s push for the top six in the spring of 2023 and in the transition to De Zerbi’s preferred way of playing.

Steele’s part as a strong squad member and team player during turbulent times when Robert Sanchez took over from Maty Ryan under Graham Potter should also be appreciated.

We now move into a situation where Kjell Scherpen, James Beadle and Carl Rushworth return from loans and Tom McGill ponders his next step, with game time surely a priority for the Canada squad member.

The club also have several goalkeepers in their under-21 and under-18 ranks.

For Verbruggen, it is the Euros, where he is fancied to start ahead of Mark Flekken.

And, according to De Zerbi, that tournament experience can only be of benefit.

He said recently: “Bart Verbruggen is becoming a great, great player.

“In terms of confidence it’s very important for us because we are not a top, top team and we need some confidence. It’s good for the players, good for the club and our atmosphere.”