Lewis Dunk on why Chelsea and Leeds target Ben White can play for England

Lewis Dunk believes Ben White and Adam Webster can follow in his footsteps and play for England if they perform consistently well for Brighton in the Premier League

Ben White has impressed his skipper Lewis Dunk during preseason training
Ben White has impressed his skipper Lewis Dunk during preseason training

White is back with Brighton following his successful season-long loan at spell Leeds United as Albion prepare for the opening match of the 2021/21 Premier League campaign at Chelsea at the Amex Stadium on September 14.

Newly-promoted Leeds wanted to sign White on a permanent basis and had three bids of more than £20m rejected by the Seagulls.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

The 22-year-old's current deal with Albion runs until 2022, with the option of a further 12 months. Brighton have offered White improved terms but as yet the contract has not been signed.

Brighton and Hove Albion defender Adam Webster

The classy defender has also attracted interest from Tottenham, Chelsea and Liverpool but Brighton head coach Graham Potter views White as an integral part of his first team plans for next season. Many feel he would make an ideal defensive partner for skipper Dunk.

Dunk, who last week agreed a new five-year contract with the club, has been impressed with White in pre-season training and believes he and fellow defender Adam Webster could well be England players of the future.

Dunk was 27 when he was chosen by Gareth Southgate for his solitary England cap in the 3-0 win against the USA at Wembley Stadium in Novermber 2018.

The Albion skipper hasn't given up hope of adding to his cap but believes there is every chance Adam Webster, 25, and White, 22, can force their into Southgate's thinking.

“I made my debut at 27, so they’ve got a few years on me to get into the squad and they’re playing in the Premier League,” said Dunk.

“I was only in the Championship at their age. If they carry on the way they are they can play for England too. I will be buzzing to see that happen because they are both top boys and top players.”

The England manager previously said the postponement of the Euros will give younger players on fringes of international football an opportunity to break into his 23-man selection.

Southgate has been keeping close tabs on White's development at Leeds and will no doubt be keen to see him test himself in the Premier League

“I’m very conscious there will be a group of around 30 to 35 who have been in and around our squad the past 12-18 months, who will be in the frame, but there will be some guys who come late," said Southgate last June.

“It could be a Ben White, who has been on loan at Leeds, or a Kalvin Phillips, that haven’t played Premier League football yet. Those sorts of players could come into the frame. We’re always open to what it looks like.”

Dunk was excellent for Brighton last season and was perhaps unlucky not to get the call-up his performances deserved. He looks back on his one England cap with pride and hopes another opportunity to represent his country will come.

He said, “You have always got to have ambitions [to play for England again], that’s the pinnacle of football - playing for your country and having those three lions on your chest.

“I’ve thankfully had that opportunity once and hopefully there’s more to come.

“I have just got to keep working hard in training, staying fit and prove that I am good enough with my performances in the Premier League so that I can get that call-up.”

A message from the Editor, Gary Shipton: In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news, I am asking you to please purchase a copy of our newspapers.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspapers.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

Stay safe, and best wishes.