Lewis Dunk has spent the entirety of his playing career at his hometown club Brighton & Hove Albion, and has played a pivotal role in their rollercoaster journey to the Premier League.
Some are discussing the potential selection of Lewis Dunk for the upcoming international friendlies against Holland and Italy, but also possibly the 2018 World Cup in Russia. His season started with a cloud of doubt hanging over his capabilities of competing in the Premier League, as a series of unconvincing displays led some to believe that it was too steep of a step up in his career.
Dunk looked nervous in possession and mistakes were consistently met with dismay, but he’s used these experiences as learning curves to utlimately improve his performances and his career. He’s unarguably one of the best English central defenders on current form, along with Burnley duo James Tarkowski and Ben Mee, Leicester City defender Harry Maguire and Manchester United defender Chris Smalling.
The 26-year-old was born in Brighton and graduated from the club’s academy system in April 2010 by signing a two-year professional contract. Brighton were still playing in League One when Dunk signed for the senior squad, but he’d only play a minor role in their promotion to the Championship.
Injuries to Tommy Elphick and Adam El-Abd opened a valuable opportunity for Dunk to prove himself to the supporters at such a tender age. He accumulated 36 appearances during his debut season in the Championship, and learned from the experienced skipper Gordon Greer.
He was unable to retain his place in the starting line-up for the following two seasons, and even spent a brief one-month loan spell at Bristol City to increase his playing opportunities in 2013. The 2014/15 season proved to be the breakthrough season for Dunk, as he went onto play 44 games and finish as the club’s top goal scorer with seven goals in all competitions.
Dunk has remained a regular figure in their back line to the present day and his confidence is showing little signs of wavering. The sky is the limit for the Brighton-born warrior, and although he’s scored four own goals this season, the positives outweigh the negatives when reflecting on his debut season in the Premier League.
Does Dunk Deserve An England Call-Up?
I believe Gareth Southgate has the toughest squad selection on his hands than any previous England manager in recent history. The squad has previously been set in stone prior to the tournament, despite the odd alterations, but it’s a very complex decision-making process due to the transitional period that the Three Lions are currently experiencing.
Roy Hodgson selected four central defenders in two out of the previous three squads he picked for major international tournaments. However, Southgate has recently employed a three-man defence in his new system, but it’s yet to be revealed whether he’ll maintain this formation during the 2018 World Cup.
Therefore, opinions, debate and analysis is purely assumptional, but lets draw to the conclusion that Southgate is going to pursue the three-man defence, which worked with great effect in previous friendlies against Germany and Brazil.
Chris Smalling is likely to earn a place in the squad, due to his previous experiences at major tournaments. This leaves a four-man battle between Lewis Dunk, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee and Harry Maguire, although John Stones, Gary Cahill and Phil Jones could still be in contention.
The three latter defenders have evidently been out of form during the 2017/18 campaign, which would make it an utter disgrace if they regain their place in the England National Team. James Tarkowski and Ben Mee share supreme chemistry due to their solid partnership at Burnley, but I find it difficult to envisage both players representing The Three Lions in Russia.
Southgate’s system may force him to select a vast amount of central defenders in his squad. I predict he’ll take four central defenders with him to Russia, meaning if Smalling and Tarkowski or Mee make the grade, then Dunk has an opportunity to earn a seat on the plane.
Harry Maguire contributes his distributive skills to the system, as he has a tendency of carrying the ball from defence to midfield quickly and shifting the ball into a more advanced position. Dunk’s passing has improved massively during his time in the Premier League, which makes him even more viable for the international stage.
Gareth Southgate has a decision to make; which is to either stick with the usual suspects by picking the squad based on their club or reputation, or select the players who’re strongest in their positions, regardless of which club they play for.