The Seagulls Summary #4: My Favourite XI

By Charlie Parker-Turner (@CParkerTurner)

Image credit: Paul Gillett licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Another week, another blog. This week I will be producing my favourite Brighton and Hove Albion team made up of player’s I have watched in my 12 years of watching the Seagulls. Obviously, I missed the times of prime Bobby Zamora and club-legend Peter Ward. However, this side is made up of all my favourites, including some old-school League 1 favourites.

Goalkeeper: David Stockdale

Kicking off the side we have David Stockdale. The goalkeeper was unbelievable in our promotion spell to the Premier League and with how crucial he was that season, I wish his time at the club ended on better terms. The Englishman kept 20 clean sheets in that promotion season, as well as making crucial saves throughout the campaign; including the superb double-save to deny Fernando Forestieri against Sheffield Wednesday.

Right-back: Bruno

Ever since his move from Valencia, Bruno has embodied everything that Brighton and Hove Albion stands for. The defender was brilliant on the ball, a presence in defence and attack, the perfect leader in our defence and the ideal role model for Lewis Dunk. Despite retiring last season, there is no doubt in my mind that Bruno will be in and around the changing room for many, many years.

Centre back: Lewis Dunk

From Withdean to Wembley, Dunk has shown excellence, passion and the willingness to learn. I remember being sceptical about Dunk earlier in his career, where his temper and aggression got the better off him, but since then he has matured and he has developed into an unbelievable player. The Seagulls truly are lucky to be blessed with Dunk as without them they would leak goals like a dodgy tap. The 28-year-old would walk into any Premier League side, bar Liverpool, and improve the team’s defence and it is nothing less than disgraceful that the Englishman has only made one international appearance.

Centre back: Gordon Greer

In League 1, having a tough-tackler like Gordon Greer felt like having prime John Terry in your defence, especially in a time where the third-tier of English football went through a phase of pumping the ball up to a big centre-forward, Stoke City-like shall we say. Greer was a true leader and would win anything that came his way in the air. Despite not being gifted with the ball at his feet and having a Scotsman fiery streak, it would be wrong to leave out the captain who led us to through the early stages of our journey to Premier League football.

Left-back: Inigo Calderon

One of the kindest men to ever pull on the blue and white stripes of Brighton is undoubtedly Inigo Calderon. The Spaniard was incredibly versatile and would play anywhere on the park if asked, just as long as he could go out and run himself into the ground. Calderon was everything you wanted as a fullback, his linkup play was neat, he could deliver a cross and he was never really caught out of position. Since his 232 appearances on the South Coast, Calderon has plied his trade in India and Cyprus.

Centre midfielder: Liam Bridcutt

The unsung hero of Brighton season after season. Scotland international Bridcutt was pivotal in the Albion midfield under Gus Poyet, playing deep in the midfield and sweeping in front of the back-four. Bridcutt was sharp to a tackle, composed on the ball and always able to pick a pass. He now plays on loan at Lincoln City after spells at Leeds United and Bolton Wanderers, which is an almighty fall for a player of his ability. Despite the sour note his Brighton career ended on, the Chelsea youth product will always be fondly remembered by me due to his gritty midfield displays and the fact he scored my favourite ever goal which has somehow been lost in the archives, a 30-yard screamer to secure League 1 promotion in a 4-3 victory over Dagenham and Redbridge. Beauty.

Centre midfielder: Rohan Ince

Without a doubt the most controversial inclusion in the entire side considering the strength in central midfield Brighton have had for years, however, Rohan Ince was my favourite player at the Albion for a very long time. As a schoolboy, I tipped Ince to be the next Yaya Toure, (It didn’t quite work out with Ince now playing at Cheltenham Town), after dominating midfield displays under both Sami Hyypia and Chris Hughton. The 6ft3 defensive midfielder was rock-solid in the heart of the midfield and brought an edge to a side which was lacking in every department. The Chelsea youth product was never shy when it came to tackling and was a reliable figure in a disjointed side. If it wasn’t for an unlucky string of injuries, there is no doubt in my mind that Ince would not be playing where he is now.

Centre midfielder: Davy Propper

This was an incredibly difficult position to fill considering the depth the Albion side have in midfield now, but the masterful technique of Davy Propper means he sneaks in ahead of Yves Bissouma and Steven Alzate. Ever since arriving from PSV, Propper has shown the South Coast why he was one of Chris Hughton’s first Premier League signings. The Dutchman is superb on and off the ball and dictates the tempo of every fixture from the first minute until the last. The midfielder has stamina, flair and a superb work-rate which all combine to make Propper the most technically gifted player on the Albion books. If the 28-year-old added more goals to his game then he would gain more plaudits for his displays, but with the ever-changing versatile sides Graham Potter is implementing, it seems more likely to see Propper at right-back more often than on the scoresheet.

Left-wing: Kazenga Lualua

Exciting, tricky, energetic, creative, the list goes on. Kazenga Lualua was electric down the left at Withdean Stadium and was just as thrilling to watch at the Amex. When Lualua was in-form, you knew that the second he cut onto his right foot that the ball was moments away from being firmly nestled in the back of the net. The DR Congo winger always offered skills, a fierce strike and set-piece ability when playing, which makes it no surprise that Lualua spent nine seasons at the club in all, making 158 appearances and scoring some wonder goals along the way.

Right-wing: Anthony Knockaert

Sorely missed by Brighton this season, Anthony Knockaert was a cut above the rest when guiding Albion to the Premier League, scoring 15 goals in 45 appearances and earning himself EFL Player of the Season. Life in the top division was harder for Knockaert due to off-the-field reasons, however, the Frenchman never failed to shine and was always the creative spark in attack. Knockaert always had the ability to cruise through a game with little impact before flicking a switch, picking the game up by the scruff of the neck and winning it for the Seagulls, and on occasions like that, it was simply magical and mesmerising. A credible mention has to go out to his link-up with Bruno, the pair were unbelievable down the right and would leave the opposition dumbfounded and lost with their one-touch interplay.

Striker: Glenn Murray

I could simply write ‘living legend’ and the Albion faithful would already know who we are discussing. Glenn Murray has been the striker of a lifetime for me, watching him poach goals for fun in three divisions of English football has been astonishing and brilliant. The Englishman was clinical in the Championship, scoring 23 goals in 43 appearances in the 2016/17 promotion season, and has since proved just as deadly in the Premier League, scoring 25 goals in the past two seasons up against some of the world’s best defences. Murray is only the second player to score over a century of goals for Brighton and ever since getting my first ever season ticket with the Seagulls, I have watched the centre forward deliver week-in, week-out. There are plenty of goals which would warrant being my personal favourite Murray goal, but nothing tops the importance of the last-minute header against Birmingham City a few seasons ago to snatch a vital 2-1 win, closely followed by the opening goal against QPR in a 2-1 win.

Narrowing down over ten years of watching Brighton players grind out results on a weekly basis was certainly a tough ask but enjoyable looking back on all the success the club has had that can quickly be forgotten. If I was to name a bench it would be: Maty Ryan, Adam El-Abd, Liam Rosenior, Steve Sidwell, Vicente, Elliott Bennett, Ashley Barnes.

Building this squad and talking about it this week has been really enjoyable and I would advise anyone at a loose end in these challenging times to compose their own side to distract themselves for a few hours. Feel free to send them in on Overtime’s Twitter (@OverTime_Online) as well, any football-related discussion is welcomed with open arms. Until next week, as always, stay safe.

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