Brighton midfielder a big fan of Gareth Southgate's young England team

Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Dale Stephens is excited by the future of Gareth Southgate's young England squad - even if it means international honours don't come his way.
Dale Stephens. Picture by PW Sporting PhotographyDale Stephens. Picture by PW Sporting Photography
Dale Stephens. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

Stephens has not represented England at any age level but the likes of Burnley midfielder Jack Cork have earned senior caps for the Three Lions in recent times.

Southgate has tended to blood young players in his England squads, so 29-year-old Stephens is not sitting by his phone waiting for a call although he would love to represent his county.

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Stephens said: “I’ve never said I don’t want to play for England because as an Englishman it’s what everyone wants to do.

"But I can see the way the national team is going, the way the manager is picking squads and his teams. It’s exciting, he goes for young players.

“I’m a big fan, whether that means me playing for England or not I understand the way he’s going. It’s exciting to be an Englishman as well."

Stephens' Brighton team-mate Lewis Dunk missed out on the England squad who faced Czech Republic and Montenegro in European Championship qualifiers.

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Dunk had been in the previous two squads and Stephens felt Dunk had done enough for another call. He said: "Obviously he was disappointed. They were big England games and I would have thought he would have got another call-up.

"But he won't be too down about it. He's got a big role to play here for the remainder of the season."