Brighton & Hove Albion defender Lewis Dunk has his eyes set on an England call up after signing a new five-year contract with the club.
Dunk is now committed to the club until June 2022, and wants to help Albion establish themselves in the Premier League and on a personal level catch the eye of Gareth Southgate.
He said, “I’m very pleased to be tied down for five years. We’re where we want to be: in the Premier League, and hopefully we’ll still be there in five years’ time.
“Personally I want to set my aims high and to do enough to get into the England squad. Seeing how young English centre-backs have been pushed up into the senior squad makes me want to follow in their footsteps.
“If you look at the top six teams, there are a few English centre-backs there, but not many; Michael Keane did brilliantly with Burnley last season and made his breakthrough.
“It’s always been a dream of mine and hopefully I can get closer now. Being in the Premier League, it's now up to me to show what I can do.”
The centre-back reflected on Saturday’s game against Manchester City, and a moment early on with Gabriel Jesus that confirmed his arrival on the biggest stage.
“I felt quite comfortable, but it is a massive step up. I was pleased that for 70 minutes we didn’t give them many chances.
“After the goal we gave away, more pressure built up on us, but we more than held our own and I felt we showed that we’re more than capable of playing in this league.
“One thing sticks to mind in the first two minutes of the game; I went tight to Jesus and any other Championship player takes a touch back, but he flicked the ball over my head and spun around me!
“Mentally you must be that second sharper and thinking further ahead at this level. When the ball went out of play, I just thought to myself welcome to the Premier League!”
The 25-year-old admits that while survival is the primary aim this season, he feels the club has unlimited potential in terms of what can be achieved.
“To see what we’re achieving now and the buzz around the place is unbelievable, but we mustn't lose sight of our main aim and that is to stay in the Premier League.
"If we can do that, who knows where we can go. We have the facilities and we are in a fantastic area to live; we don't want to get too carried away, but if we can establish ourselves at this level his club can continue to grow.
“I love it here, and so are my family. It’s perfect for me at this time in my life and I am delighted with the new contract.”