I’m not sure if its from Match Weekly or Shoot! Magazine. However, Gary Stevens’ determination to reach the top is unmistakeable:
Ambitious Brighton defender Gary Stevens has mapped out his path to the top.
Stevens, who has played more than 150 First Division matches is one of the most promising defenders in the First Division.
Stevens recently made his first appearance for the England Under-21 side, helping the youngsters defeat Hungary 1-0 at Newcastle.
“I am the sort of player who simply isn’t satisfied to jog along without success and ambitions. I’m very ambitious and I want to achieve things in the game,” he says.
“Despite my age I shall be available for the Under-21’s for another couple of years in the European Championship. And after that I want to be pushing for a place in the senior England squad – with caps to follow.”
Stevens, who hails from Ipswich, might be considered over-ambitious by some critics. But he insists: “You must have targets. I need to push myself as much as possible. I see nothing wrong with that.”
Transfer talk has already suggested Stevens could become a prime target if Brighton slip into the Second Division at the end of the season. His smooth, silky performances have been noted by some as displays of a future star.
But Stevens says: “I don’t want to leave the club. It’s a good lifestyle down here and the team has ability even if we have disappointed everyone in the League this season.”
Stevens also wants to improve aspects of his own game, especially his pace. “I am working hard on it and it’s getting better. At the moment I am automatic choice for Brighton’s first team but I want to become an automatic selection for the England Under-21s and then for the full England team.
“I’ve played four seasons in the First Division and have learned something every year. But I’ve benefited from Jimmy Melia’s appointment as our manager because he encourages me to get forward a great deal.
“At times this season everyone at brighton has been guilty of letting themselves and the club down. But one look at our players makes it obvious we are not a Second Division side.”
Stevens grabbed back the central defensive slot when Mike Bailey left the Goldstone Ground. “He didn’t think I was a good enough central defensive player and I had to fill in at full-back. But I prefer playing in the middle although it’s meant Steve Gatting has had to adapt to full-back or midfield.”
Now Gary is hoping that next week’s FA Cup Final is just the first of many games at Wembley.
“Reaching the FA Cup Final is unbelievable,” he says. “Now I may have to take over the main defender’s role in front of millions because of Steve Foster’s suspension.”