Former Brighton and Aston Villa star baffled by Lewis Dunk's exclusion from England squad

Former Brighton defender Tommy Elphick remains puzzled as to why Lewis Dunk remains sidelined from Gareth Southgate's England setup.

Lewis Dunk is available for selection at Aston Villa having served his three match suspension

Dunk, who has just one England cap to his name, usually plays as part of a back three for Albion – the same defensive formation as England – and Elphick felt Dunk's presence would have helped England in their recent 2-0 loss to Belgium.

“You watch England play and find yourself scratching your head wondering how Lewis isn't at least involved in the setup, especially with the system they play," said Elphick.

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“He has made the position at Brighton his own and watching the England game against Belgium, you feel he could have made a real impact.

“Lewis has got everything in the locker. He has been very well schooled as a lot of the centre-halves are at Brighton – they have a knack of developing good players in that position.

"He epitomised, especially in the early days, what the academy stands for.

“He reads the game superbly and is very good on the ball. He doesn't get enough credit for how athletic he is and powerful he is for his size and deserves more chances at international level.

“He made his Albion debut alongside me, I know him very well. I played a few games with him before I left Brighton and it's no surprise to see how well he's doing."

Elphick, who now plays for Huddersfield Town, made 153 appearances for Brighton before his move to Bournemouth in 2012. He also spent three seasons at Saturday's opponent Aston Villa.

Elphick has been impressed with Brighton of late and feels head coach Graham Potter is starting to advance the squad in the positive direction.

“Graham Potter has done well. He has made some big decisions and let some big characters go to mould the squad into something he believes he can work well with.

“The key for Brighton is turning those performances into wins. What you can't lose sight of is where Brighton were a few years ago.

"They are still a fresh team in the Premier League and staying up is the priority. Anything you can build on from there will make it a positive season.

“They came back after the first lockdown and did extremely well to get into a position where they weren't under any real threat of going down.

"They will want to build on that. From the outside looking in, they are always pleasing on the eye but you just want to see those good performances turn into three points.”