Lewis Dunk says Chris Hughton is a massive influence at Brighton
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By Sky Sports News
Last Updated: 01/01/19 2:03pm
Brighton defender Lewis Dunk says manager Chris Hughton has been crucial to his development at the Amex Stadium.
Hughton celebrated four years in charge of the Seagulls on December 31, a spell in which he guided the club to the Premier League in the 2016-17 season before avoiding relegation the following campaign.
Dunk has become an integral part of Brighton's starting line-up in recent seasons and the England international believes he has come on "leaps and bounds" under Hughton.
"I've had a few managers at this club, and he's definitely up there with the best I've had in my career," Dunk told Brighton's official website ahead of the match against West Ham on Wednesday.
"It's massive to have him at the club. He's been massive for my development. I think I've come on leaps and bounds since he's been in charge.
"I've become more and more consistent and he's calmed me down as a player. A few years ago I was getting a lot of bookings and I've calmed down recently.
"That's probably down to talking to and learning off him, because he was a defender too."
Dunk earned his first cap for England in the 3-0 win over the United States in November and the 27-year-old is hoping to remain in the squad under Gareth Southgate.
When asked to pick a highlight from 2018, Dunk said: "From a personal point of view, it would be my England debut.
"I worked very hard to get there and to make my family proud was a great thing for me. To see them after the game was a great honour.
"Hopefully I can stay in the squad until I retire. I've just got to keep performing well in the Premier League, while showing the manager what I can do."
Brighton ended the year 13th in the Premier League but Dunk is taking nothing for granted in the battle against relegation.
"We've got to look above us but we're nowhere near safe and we've got a long way to go," he said. "There's just under half a season to go and we've got to perform as well in the second half as the first.
"If we do that then I'm sure we'll be fine. We've got to keep pushing on, pick up as many points as we can, and not get carried away with ourselves."