Former Brighton & Hove Albion defender Adam Hinshelwood believes Lewis Dunk is an inspirational figure for young footballers in Sussex to look up to.
Dunk got his first call-up to the England squad last month and the Three Lions squad for next week's games with the United States and Croatia is announced tomorrow.
Hinshelwood, boss of Bostik League Premier Division side Worthing, made more than 100 appearances for Albion from 2002 to 2009 and was assistant coach of their under-18 side from 2015 to 2017.
His path didn't cross with Dunk as a player but Hinshelwood believes the 26-year-old is one of the best defenders in England at the moment.
He said: "Lewis was in the youth team as I was coming towards the end of my career at Brighton but I saw him during the two years I was at Brighton with the under-18s.
"I agree with what Bobby Zamora said that he's got to be up there with the best in England at the moment.
"He's got it all. He wins headers and tackles, he's a good blocker of the ball but also his range of passing is second to none.
"I can't speak of him highly enough and he's only going to get better. Early on in his career, he'd be the first to admit he maybe had a mistake in him each game but like any player, you eradicate that with experience and I think he's eradicated those mistakes now.
"Rather than one a game it's one every half a season, which is unreal for a defender who is playing week in, week out.
"The amount of blocks he makes to stop chances and the goals he sets up with his playing out is excellent too.
"If I'm honest, I'm surprised he didn't have a England call-up before he did."
Hinshelwood added that Dunk and team-mate Solly March, who played non-league for Lewes, are the type of players Sussex youngsters should look up to.
He said: "To have an inspirational figure like Lewis, who is from Sussex, in and around the England squad can only inspire the younger generation.
"You see Solly March as well, he's a lad who went to Lewes and got back into the pro game and is performing regularly in the Premier League on the top stage.
"Sussex is an area which has a lot of talented lads and Lewis and Solly are players Sussex boys can aspire to be."
Hinshelwood got a call-up to the England under-21 squad - alongside the likes of James Milner, Glen Johnson, Darren Bent and Jermaine Pennant- while with Brighton and it's something he looks back on with fond memories.
He said: "It was definitely one of my highlights. It's the pinnacle and where you want to get to as a player.
"When I was there I made sure I enjoyed it. There were lads who went on to have good careers in the Premier League.
"The training and the intelligence players have at that level is incredible. That was what I got from it, how clever they were. They were so switched on and it was a great experience, one I look back on with a lot of fond memories."
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