Brighton's Joel Veltman in line for Harry Kane and Son Heung-min test at Tottenham

Brighton's Dutch international defender made a steady start to life in the Premier League against West Brom last Sunday and is now in line to face one the most lethal strike partnerships in the Premier League

Brighton defender Joel Veltman gave an assured display on his first start against West Brom
Brighton defender Joel Veltman gave an assured display on his first start against West Brom

Joel Veltman may have gone largely unnoticed for much of the 1-1 draw against West Brom last Sunday at the Amex Stadium...and sometimes for a defender that can be a good thing.

Veltman arrived in the summer from Ajax with little fuss or fanfare and played in a similar manner during his first Premier League start against the Baggies.

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The 28-year-old Dutch international was promoted to the starting XI as skipper Lewis Dunk began the first of his three match suspension after his straight red card against Crystal Palace.

Veltman was calm and composed at centre back and then looked just as comfortable as he slotted in at right back during the second half as Graham Potter reshuffled his team.

Newly-promoted West Brom provided a stern test, particularly in the second half, but the level will raise even higher for Veltman and co this Sunday as they travel to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The Dutchman will require all of his defensive qualities and experience - gained from 179 appearances with Ajax and 26 caps for his country - as they face the prolific Harry Kane and Son Heung-min partnership.

Son's header from Kane's flick-on during the 1-0 win at Burnley last Sunday was the ninth time this season the duo have combined for a Premier League goal - and 29th in total.

Veltman however has good experiences of competing against Tottenham as he played for Ajax in a 1-0 win at Spurs in the Champions League semi-finals two seasons ago.

The £900,000 signing was pleased to get his first Premier League start last Sunday despite West Brom's late equaliser.

“I came in strange circumstances with Covid but I have settled in and really enjoy it here.

"The medical and technical staff as well as the players have been really nice. They have made my family welcome.

“It was frustrating that we dropped two points. In the second half we didn’t play, and we gave them too much space.

"What we did in the first half they did to us in the second and after they equalised they smelt blood and went for a 1-2 win, but at the end we’re disappointed not to have got a 1-0.

"We needed a second goal when we were on top, because that relaxes you and gives you confidence."

Being able to play in a variety of defensive positions is crucial to be a success in a Potter team. The Albion head coach regularly changes formations for certain opponents and often changes defensive positions and shapes during matches.

“I did play a lot of times with Ajax at centre-back but because of injuries I played right-back with them too, even in the Champions League," Veltman said.

"To be honest I don’t mind, but if I had to choose it would centre-back.

Potter also gave Veltman the thumbs up for his display against West Brom and with Dunk still unavailable for Spurs, Potter could well turn to Dutchman once more.

“It was a straight swap for Lewis to keep everything else the same from Crystal Palace," said the Albion head coach. “The performance there was good. Joel has been working hard, a top professional.

“He obviously wants to play and help the team. I think he is one of those players who can play in all those build-up positions.

“I thought he did well in the middle of the three. He is composed and good on the ball so I was happy with his performance.”