Stephens unfazed by criticism from Brighton support
Brighton ace Dale Stephens insists he is not fazed by the criticism he has received from certain sections of the club's fans.
The central midfielder has proved a mainstay for the Seagulls during Chris Hughton's time in charge and he delivered an impressive display as Brighton made it back-to-back wins in the Premier League for the first time since December by beating Crystal Palace 2-1 on Saturday.
However, the 29-year-old has also come in for criticism from certain sections of the Brighton support, as they feel he does not get the ball forward quickly enough and instead passes sideways or backwards.
Stephens insists such criticism is like water off a duck's back and he will continue doing what he is doing for the benefit of the team.
Asked whether criticism bothers him, Stephens told The Argus: "No, it’s part of my job.
"When a game is frantic, you probably need that calm head and I am the calm head in the team.
"Whether it is a pass backwards or sidewards, it is about keeping possession and we have to build from there."
Stephens certainly faces competition to retain his place at the heart of the Brighton midfield, with the likes of Davy Propper, Yves Bissouma and Beram Kayal also competing for a starting place, and he feels the middle of the park is an area where the Seagulls are blessed with a lot of quality.
"There is a lot of quality throughout the squad," the Englishman added. "I’d probably say, within our team, between us and the goalkeepers, it is probably the strongest position throughout the squad."
Tom McGarry completed his sports journalist degree in 2011,and has since has become an integral part of the editorial and audio team. He is passionate about all things sport, particularly football, and is a lifelong supporter of his hometown club Carlisle United.