Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton emphasised that Lewis Dunk’s England involvement can act as an inspiration to all of the club’s youngsters and footballers across Sussex as a whole.
The defender earned his first cap for the Three Lions in last week’s victory over USA at Wembley Stadium, and the boss praised the exploits of the central defender ahead of this afternoon’s game with Leicester City at the Amex Stadium.
He said, “Lewis is now a role model for all young players across Sussex – a club like us haven’t had too many England internationals in the past.
“He’s a homegrown lad who’s been here from a very young age; that makes the club feel very proud to see how he’s developed, and it’s great for the area.
“But it’s also great for what we’re trying to build here with an academy – I see the young players joining us here at the training ground every evening.
“It shows that there’s a pathway from both this football club specifically and through the divisions to get to international level and represent your country. Lewis has come up through the leagues – it says a lot about Gareth Southgate too and it looks like a really exciting time, we all hope Lewis can continue to be a part of that.”
The side’s bright start to their second season in the Premier League has received plaudits and admirers from all quarters, and the manager discussed retaining individuals, despite potential interest from elsewhere in January.
“I think we’ll be fine – the dynamics have changed now over the last few seasons.
“It costs an awful lot more now for anybody to buy one of your players, and that’s the case for all of the teams in the division.
“If you don’t want to lose someone, then a club knows it will have to take a big offer – we have a chairman and an owner who wants to build, not go the other way and it would take a very big offer to lose any of our players.”
The Seagulls will be able to call on both Pascal Gross and Davy Propper for the contest with Claude Puel’s men on the south coast this afternoon, and Hughton discussed being able to select the midfield duo again after their respective spells on the sidelines.
“Both him and Pascal have trained well, but Davy is nearer than Pascal if you’re going to base it on how long it’s been seen either last played a game for us.
“But you have to consider the type of players they are – both are available and the decision for me will be where they are in their levels.
“We have three games in a week after this weekend, but my focus is always primarily on the next game, and for us, that’s Leicester City.
“Possibly between next Saturday and Tuesday it will be a bit different, but at this moment it’s all about the weekend.”
Fans can watch the manager’s full look ahead to today’s game with Leicester City at the Amex Stadium on Seagulls TV – supporters can sign up to the service by clicking here.