Davy Propper is having a smashing time with Albion in the Premier League – now that he is used to the knocks.
The unassuming Dutchman knows what to expect as he makes his 47th top flight appearance against Burnley at Turf Moor today.
Propper, signed from PSV Eindhoven at the start of last season, said: “It’s still the same as the first few matches I came here.
“It’s a difficult transition, a lot more physical and quicker.
“You had time to control the ball (in Holland) and here you get smashed!
“That’s the big difference. I am used to it now, maybe not to getting smashed, but thinking quicker and acting quicker.”
Propper, softly spoken off the pitch, quietly effective on it, is three games into his comeback from a left ankle injury sustained in the home win over West Ham.
“It was one of the longest times,” he said.
“Something broke in there but there was no surgery, I just had to wait to make it right. It took a little while.
“We saw the images. It was inside the foot so difficult to get to. They didn’t want to do anything.
“It’s nice when you are back and you start winning again but also when I was out they won two games (Newcastle and Wolves), so that was really nice to see.
“I’m happy with the squad we have. It doesn’t really matter who is playing.”
Propper is playing with his third different partner in central midfield.
They combined well in the victories over Huddersfield and Crystal Palace.
“After two wins you can only be happy,” Propper said. “Also the way we play. It’s a little bit more we try to build up, rule the game, be the bosses in midfield.
“That is one way to do it, if you have the ball.
“We started really with the same group as last year. From now on, with more games, suspensions, injuries, the (new) players are playing a bit more.
“It’s good to have a big squad. It doesn’t really affect the team if someone is out.”
Albion have moved into the top ten, 12 points above next-to-bottom Burnley who finished seventh last season to qualify for the Europa League.
The Seagulls could climb as high as sixth today with a third straight win, if other results go their way.
Could they emulate Burnley? Propper said: “It’s difficult to say now. We just have to see game by game. We are happy with where we are now. We hope to stay as long as possible.
“I think the group has a good feeling now. It’s important to keep that feeling.
“We can solve injuries and suspensions a little bit easier I think. That could give us some more points.”
Propper, 27, lives unobtrusively in his rented home in Hove, shunning social media and keeping a dividing line between his profession and personal life.
He is part of the Dutch squad making a contrastingly big noise on the international stage again under Ronald Koeman after a period in the doldrums.
Group victories against the last two World Cup winners, France and Germany, has set up a semi-final clash against England in Portugal in June in the inaugural Nations League, putting Propper on a potential collision course with Albion team-mate Lewis Dunk (above).
He said: “I was speaking to Dunky about the draw — it would be nice to play against him, I hope we’re both there and perhaps we can swap jerseys.
“It’s amazing for him to be there over the last two international breaks. He made his debut — that’s a great feeling. He deserves it.
“I was injured for both international breaks but I hope to be back for the next one and the summer.
“We (Netherlands) are doing well. It’s not a European Championship or World Cup but it’s still something.
“We did great against France and Germany. I hope we can beat England now.
“The league in Holland is a bit different to the English league but in international football I hope we are back and can show good things in the European Championships.”