Albion are clocking up the international caps

Jake Forster-Caskey was instrumental in the England Under-21s win over Croatia.
Jake Forster-Caskey was instrumental in the England Under-21s win over Croatia.

The Albion’s international stars enjoyed a successful spell of games with their national sides.

Brighton and Hove Albion’s international stars enjoyed a successful spell of games with their national sides as the Seagulls squad’s experience continues to grow.

Gordon Greer and Aaron Hughes both featured in Scotland and Northern Ireland’s matches this week, while Jake Forster-Caskey was instrumental in England Under-21s two-legged European Championship play-off win over Croatia.

Hughes in particular has become a stalwart for his national side. The defender clocked up his 93rd cap during Northern Ireland’s win over Greece.

Greer, who successfully shackled Poland’s Robert Lewandowski after replacing Blackburn’s Grant Hanley in the Scotland line-up, was only making his 5th appearance for Scotland but the 33-year-old won rave reviews for his uncompromising performance.

And as for Forster-Caskey, the midfielder was praised for his role in helping England Under-21s negotiate a tricky play-off with Croatia. He played all 180 minutes of the tie.

The mercurial Paddy McCourt was an unused substitute during Northern Ireland’s match but has 14 caps to his name.

It means the current Albion side is one of the most experienced Seagulls squads ever - with 150 full caps shared among the players.

Hughes obviously leads the way, but Andrew Crofts has 27 appearances for Wales, while Craig Mackail-Smith has seven for Scotland and Toko Nzuzi has four for DR Congo having previously been capped at youth level for Switzerland.

Gary Gardner (five), Solly March (four) and Joe Bennett (three) have all also featured for England Under-21s, and Joao Teixiera has represented Portugal at every level from under- 16s up to and including the under-21 squad. Albion number one David Stockdale was previously called up to the full England squad for a European Championship qualifier in 2012 but had to withdraw from the squad.

In recent years the most experienced Albion players internationally included Matthew Upson, who won 21 caps for England, Wayne Bridge who played 36 times for England and Vicente, who amassed 38 caps for Spain.

Of course, no current player can rival the number of international appearances made by current Albion manager Sami Hyypiä. The former Liverpool defender represented Finland 105 times, scoring two goals for his country in the process.

The Albion may not have started this season in the way many supporters would have hoped, but the fact Greer, Hughes and perhaps more importantly, home-grown Forster-Caskey are all enjoying international recognition is surely a cause for some celebration.

And the squad’s ever-increasing international experience has to be a positive as the Albion look to improve domestic results.