Ben White explains how Lewis Dunk 'blew his mind' and makes bold England claim
There are few players better qualified to assess the recent form of Brighton captain Lewis Dunk than his defensive colleague Ben White
White, who advanced through the Albion academy, grew up watching Dunk at close quarters and then trained alongside his skipper as he made progress from the under-23s and into the first team.
White, 23, has since become a first team regular himself and is enjoying a successful first full season in the Premier League following his loan spell in the Championship with Leeds last season.
Dunk has been widely praised this campaign and his performance during last Saturday's 2-0 triumph against Leeds was described by head coach Graham Potter as his best yet.
White believes Dunk's form this campaign is the main reason why Brighton now look safe from relegation and struggles to comprehend why his captain continues to be overlooked by England.
Dunk's solitary England cap arrived in November 2019 when he played the full 90 minutes in England's 3-0 victory against the United States at Wembley.
"When I was younger I used to watch him train," said White. "He used to be the best trainer every day. I would come over from the under-23s and I was almost speechless at how good he was, how big he was and the size of him.
"This season he has been unbelievable for us. I don't think we would be in the position we are in now if he wasn't in the team and he would be a big miss if he wasn't.
"When I play next to him and see some of the things he does, it is mind blowing. If I tried one of those things, I would definitely give away a goal.
"I don't know how he is so cool, especially with that shoulder on the weekend and flick backs to the keeper. It just shows how good he is and he can do it.
"For me I think he is one of the best in the Premier League. I don't think he gets as much credit as he should. He is playing for a side that is down the bottom we are fighting every week and it's tough for a defender when you are fighting for survival. He shows how good he is in them situations.
"Last season (at Leeds) we had so much possession and you don't have to defend that much because you have got the ball.
"Where as this season, we have been defending for 30, for minutes 40 minutes and the concentration and the pressure that comes with that is hard to deal with and he takes it in his stride like he does with everything else."
"If I was the manager (England) he would be straight in for me but I think he has been amazing and deserves another call-up."
Dunk however is not the only defender pushing for England recognition at Brighton. Adam Webster has also had an impressive second season in the top flight and White himself has been widely tipped as a future international.
Last year England boss Gareth Southgate included White as one of select group of talented young players to keep a close eye on.
"I listened to it and it was nice to hear," White added. "But it is not a focus for me as yet because it has not happened. My focus is playing for Brighton and doing as well as I can here."
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