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STEPHENS: TIME TO KICK ON AND NOT REFLECT

3 November 2018

Paul Hazlewood
Dale Stephens
Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Dale Stephens could make his 300th league start in English football against Everton on Merseyside this afternoon - but he's adamant that now is not the time for reflection.
 
Stephens will achieve the impressive feat if he starts at Goodison Park today, in what has been a tough journey to the top flight, but he admits it’s hard to look back on his achievements so far in the midst of a hectic Premier League season.
 
He said, "It's strange, because you don't really look back and reflect.
 
"I think if I didn't have ten months out shortly after I signed, it would have been a good few years in my career.
 
"Initially when I signed the club was edging towards the play-offs. They missed out the year before, so I knew the ambition and what the club stood for.
 
"I would have liked obviously to have got to the Premier League a lot sooner. We had a couple of seasons where we just missed out, but it was my ambition and the club's ambition to play in the Premier League."
 
"Maybe one day when I'm retired I'll look back and think I did all right, but I don't think now is the time for reflection. We're into a tough season.”
 
 
The experienced midfielder assessed the stiff competition for places in his position, and praised the club for their recruitment in recent transfer windows.
 
"It's a sign of the recruitment we've got at the club now. It's a good job it is like that, because if someone gets injured, our level of performance largely stays the same.
 
"It brings out the best of you. We've seen a lot of good football from Beram [Kayal] since Biss [Yves Bissouma] has come in.
 
"It's the same for myself and Davy [Propper], you want that competition, to play in an environment where you are going to get pushed and play better."
 
 
Stephens looks set to feature at Goodison Park for the first time in his career, and is relishing the prospect of ticking the historic ground off his list.
 
"I've not played there, and I've played at a few grounds now in my career! It's one of those clubs that has a traditional old school stadium, but they are also a top club in this division.
 
"I'm looking forward to playing there. I know how tough it is just watching the games that are played at Goodison Park. Not a lot of teams go there and pick up a lot of points so we'll have to be on top of our game."

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