Albion captain Lewis Dunk may have signed a new five-year contract but knows he will be kept on his toes by the fierce competition for places in defensive positions.
The 28-year-old played alongside Adam Webster for much of last season, but Shane Duffy and Dan Burn were also part of the squad that kept Albion in the Premier League for a fourth season.
And now head coach Graham Potter has more options following the return of Ben White and Matt Clarke from successful loan spells in the Championship with champions Leeds United and Derby County respectively.
“We have certainly got a few defenders to choose from now and everyone could do a very good job,” said Dunk.
“We’ve probably got the most defenders that could get into the first team there has ever been here. I’m glad I’m not the gaffer having to make those decisions, but it shows the good recruitment done by the club.”
Dunk acknowledges that competition for places in key positions in the team will raise standards as Albion prepare for their Premier League opener against Chelsea on 14th September.
“Even though I am captain, I won’t be taking my place for granted. That’s a dangerous approach to take and you have to do your talking on the pitch and make sure that you keep the shirt,” he added.
“Every day in training you are playing for your place and as soon as you relax and think ‘I am going to play’ is the day you lose your shirt and it will be difficult to get it back.”
White’s return has been eagerly anticipated by Albion fans after he played a starring role in Leeds United’s return to the top-flight.
“You can see it in training every day, we know how good Ben is,” said Dunk. “He has shown it in the lower leagues, and he has shown it in the second-best league in the country.
“Last season when Saturday evening came around, it seemed to be the Ben White show every week!
“All credit to him for going out and working so hard and doing well. Hopefully, he can bring that form back to Brighton and help us.
“I am buzzing for him. He is a top boy, a good kid to be around and it’s great to have him in the dressing room. We want to see him kick on here.”