Lewis Dunk is worthy of a place in the England side ahead of John Stones and Harry Maguire, according to Brighton legend Bobby Zamora.
The 37-year-old former striker, who enjoyed two spells with the Seagulls and is now a club ambassador, was discussing the possibility of his old team-mate Dunk forcing his way into Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions plans having won a first call-up for last month’s Nations League games against Croatia and Spain.
Dunk’s call-up came about after Burnley’s James Tarkowski withdrew because of injury and, while he didn’t feature, Zamora firmly believes he should be the first name in Southgate’s defensive line-up looking ahead.
The likes of Manchester City stopper Jones and Maguire of Leicester were key players as England reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in the summer, but Zamora feels Dunk tops the lot.
He said in the club’s programme: “For me Lewis Dunk is one of the best centre-halves in the Premier League. “I rate him above a lot of the England centre-backs who have been called up.
“He is a genuinely great defender. He is one of those who will put his face where the attacker’s boot is. “He also has the ability to play out from the back, he is a very good ball-playing footballer.
“He can strike a ball well, he can pick a pass, drive forward with the ball. For me he is ahead of Harry Maguire and even John Stones. He’s stronger and more aggressive.”