Talismanic Skipper Lewis Dunk Wants To See Out His Career At Brighton

The centre-back has made 374 appearances for the Seagulls
08:35, 24 May 2022

Brighton captain Lewis Dunk admits it has been a hell of a ride from League One to leading the Seagulls to their highest ever finish. 

The 30-year-old central defender was beaming with pride following the 3-1 win over West Ham that ensured Graham Potter’s upwardly mobile team ended the Premier League season in ninth spot. 

Dunk, with the club since the age of 11, was not born when Steve Foster - sporting his famous headband - captained the south coast side to 13th place in the old First Division 40 years ago. 

The talismanic skipper has played a huge part in allowing owner Tony Bloom to see his ambition of a top-ten finish realised. 

Foster’s form that season earned him a World Cup squad call-up, while Gareth Southgate has consistently snubbed a defender with still just one cap – a 3-0 win over the USA in 2018. 

Dunk has learned to live with the international manager regularly picking cabs that seemed further down the rank, but that is the only cloud on his horizon. 

He said: “It’s a great feeling. It’s been a long old season with ups and downs, but to finish it so strongly has been unbelievable.  

“We have spoken about our aims as a club and where we want to get to, we talked about the top ten and we have done it. It is a great accomplishment but we have got to go again next year.   

“Of course stating your aims adds pressure – but you have got to have high ambitions. You want to win every game of football, but you are in the Premier League and it’s difficult.  

“It showed, that little bad spell that we had, that it is hard in this league if it doesn’t go your way. But we came out the back of that and the international break came at a good time. 

“We went away, worked hard and finished the season strongly. Credit to the staff and the boys in that dressing room, we stuck together and kept fighting.   

“We have come a long way as a football club and I have been lucky enough to be on the whole journey from training at the University to the new training ground, from Withdean to this stadium, and from League One to the Premier League. 

“I’ve been on the ride and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it the whole way through. Hopefully we can keep building and pushing on.” 

Dunk is a rare one-club man in the mould of Mark Noble – who came off the bench to make his 550th and last appearance for West Ham at the Amex.

And the centre-back, currently on 374 appearances for Brighton, admits he would now like to see out his career in Sussex 

Dunk added: “Hopefully I can finish my career with this club too. I’m at my home town club, I’m enjoying my football under this manager and enjoy having my friends and family around me. 

“So I’m happy here and I want to try to stick to this club and retire here, hopefully I can do that.   

“I spoke to Mark after the game and said ‘Congratulations on an unbelievable career and all the best on retirement’ and I’d spoken to him a few times during lockdown. 

“He helped me with a few things as a new captain dealing with things so I had a few good chats with him during that time. 

“There were the Premier League captains Zoom meetings - but also we were having conversations with our own clubs and I wanted to get some advice. 

“I got his number, gave him a call and he was more than happy to sit down for however long and have a chat. He is a great guy.” 

Bobby Zamora saw the start of Noble’s career – and was also at the Amex to see the end of it. 

Noble made his debut for the Hammers at 17 back in 2004 – the same year that ex West Ham and Seagulls striker Zamora moved to east London for a four-year spell. 

Zamora, 41, hails from Barking just round the corner from Noble’s patch of Canning Town – and used to give the rookie teenager a lift home from training. 

Zamora, who scored a Championship play-off final winner for West Ham at Wembley in 2005, said: “Mark was literally just coming through into the first team when I got there. 

"I used to drop him home at Canning Town after training, and he is just a great lad. We grew up in a similar area so I gave him a bit more time even than everyone else. 

“He was a cheeky chappie even as a teenager and a really good player, and he has done himself proud with his career. 

“If you train with the senior squad at 17, you must have something and he certainly did. He didn’t shy away and was happy to smash into and kick the senior players. 

“West Ham is his club, the one that he loves and he has surpassed all expectations you could have had back then.”

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