Brighton manager Graham Potter has backed Lewis Dunk to flourish into a “top Premier League defender” and play his way back into England contention.
Centre-back Dunk made his international debut last November but has been left out of Gareth Southgate’s recent squads.
Uncapped duo Fikayo Tomori and Tyrone Mings were among the players selected ahead of the 27-year-old for the forthcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against Czech Republic and Bulgaria.
Potter believes Dunk is a late bloomer and has potential for further development to boost his chances of adding to his solitary national team cap.
“There’s always a chance if you’re playing well and reaching a level. Ultimately it’s Gareth’s responsibility to select who he thinks is the right player at the right time,” said Potter.
“From my perspective, Lewis has been great to work with. He’s shown a really good level, I think there’s more to come from him as well – he’s not playing at his maximum.
“Sometimes players develop and hit their peak later than others, earlier than others, and I think he’s one that’s maybe a bit later.
“We’re looking forward to working with him for the next few years because I think he can be a really, really top Premier League defender.”
Dunk, whose maiden England appearance came in a 3-0 friendly win over the United States 11 months ago, has perhaps paid the price for Brighton’s collective poor results.
Albion have won just one of their previous 16 top-flight fixtures going into Saturday’s home game with Tottenham, losing nine times and conceding 28 goals.
Asked which areas of his game Dunk could improve, Potter replied: “It’s everything from his pass selection to his decisions around when to defend tight, when to drop off, all these things.
“But I think he’s the type of guy that wants to learn, wants to get better, wants to improve so we have to help him with that.
“As soon as you think you’re at your max then you’re on your way down, the game catches up with you pretty quickly.
“How he is every day is like anybody, he makes his mistakes and can do things better but wants to respond the next day and wants to learn and improve so that’s good for him.”
Dunk will have his credentials tested by in-form England captain Harry Kane when Tottenham arrive at the Amex Stadium for a lunchtime kick-off on Saturday.
Potter expects the ever-present defender to have his hands full against the north London club.
“The challenge is not just Harry Kane – I’m sure (Spurs boss) Mauricio Pochettino would say the same,” said Potter.
“There’s not a one-person team and a one-person attacking unit with Tottenham.
“You don’t reach the Champions League final with just one guy, they’ve got others: Son (Heung-min), (Erik) Lamela, (Christian) Eriksen, (Lucas) Moura to name a few.
“So it’s about, as a unit, defending well against an attacking unit that’s really, really impressive.”
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