Brighton & Hove Albion defender Lewis Dunk insists that taking to the field with Wayne Rooney this evening for England would be an honour that would give him great pride.
The Seagulls’ central defender could make his England debut when the Three Lions host USA at Wembley Stadium in Rooney’s final game for his country, and the Albion man spoke glowingly of his fellow squad member ahead of tonight’s match.
He said, “Training with Wayne Rooney has been amazing, because he’s someone I grew up watching as a kid.
“I’ve seen him score many goals for England in major tournaments, to bring him back for his last game is a fitting tribute – hopefully tonight is a good night because he’s been a great servant to English football and he totally deserves it.
“To win my first cap on the night when he wins his 120th would be a fantastic experience for me and it would be a great honour – I’d take real pride in knowing that I made my debut while Rooney was on the pitch.”
Dunk’s inclusion in Gareth Southgate’s squad is the second time the Albion academy product has been called up to the national side in as many months.
Having experienced the surroundings for the UEFA Nations League games against Croatia and Spain last month, the defender revealed his form during the time in-between on the south coast has stood him in good stead for his return to St George’s Park this time around.
“I’m beginning to feel a bit more at home now and I think I’ve gone away and performed for my club since the last time I was here.
“The challenge for me has been to keep performing in training this week and hopefully go one step further and get my first cap under my belt.
“I hope tonight is the big night for me – I’ve trained hard this week and if I’m named on that team sheet I’ll be delighted.”
If last weekend’s goalscorer against Cardiff City takes to the field for the Three Lions this evening, he’d become the first Albion player since Steve Foster in 1982 to achieve the feat.
He reflected that he’d have plenty of people to thank for their support along the way in what has been a remarkable journey.
“It would be another dream come true to play for England – this the biggest one you can get, especially as a youngster looking up to all the big names in English football.
“I always wanted to be one of them, and hopefully now I can be one of the players who pulls the shirt on.
“I’ll be thinking about everyone that’s helped me get to this moment if I was to step out onto the field for my country.
“I’d think about my family – especially my dad who drove me here there and everywhere, my coaches from the past growing up – a little piece of everyone has got me here and it would be a massive thank you to all of them.
“Chris Hughton’s someone who’s brought me on massively – the style at Brighton suits me, and it’s helped me settle into the Premier League – he was a great defender as a player and all his tips push my game on, so it would be a massive thank you to him for being such a good coach too.”