Liam Rosenior believes his Brighton & Hove Albion team-mates will be able to hold their own against the country’s best next season as they gear up for their maiden Premier League campaign.
Chris Hughton’s Seagulls side were promoted to the top tier as Championship runners-up behind Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle last season and will mark their return to the top-flight for the first time in 34 years with a home tie against Manchester City on the opening day.
Albion are already amongst the early favourites to drop back into the second division but Rosenior, who has prior Premier League experience with Fulham, Reading and Hull City, is relishing the challenge.
“I have got so much confidence in our players and their abilities,” Rosenior told the Argus. “That is what I am looking forward to the most – the moment they realise they can play against those top players and more than hold their own.
“I was the same in my first Premier League season. You think you’re playing against David Silva and Sergio Aguero on the first day of the season.
“Then all of a sudden you are tackling them or beating them one on one and you see that confidence lift.
“That goes for all of them. Dunky (Lewis Dunk) can do anything he wants to do in his career.
“You’ve got Anthony (Knockaert), Dale Stephens. Beram (Kayal) has been waiting for years to get a chance in the Premier League.
“People like Jamie Murphy, Solly March. I remember when I first met Bruno, he said it was his dream to play in the Premier League.
“There he is at 37 when he thought it wouldn’t be possible and he is going to be leading the team out for the first game of the season.”
Brighton host Pep Guardiola’s City on August 12 before back-to-back away trips to Leicester and Watford, and have been handed a difficult finish to the season with Tottenham, Manchester United and Liverpool three of their last four outings.
However, Rosenior is currently focused on the City game and going up against a manager who he holds a great respect for.
“The first game is amazing. It is against one of my boyhood idols in Pep Guardiola. To play against them the quality of these players this season will be amazing.
“It’s going to be enjoyable – but only if we win games.”