LEWIS Dunk has moved a step nearer becoming Albion's first England international for 36 years after leapfrogging rival central defender James Tarkowski.

Dunk has kept his place in boss Gareth Southgate's plans for the Wembley friendly against the US next Thursday (8pm) and Nations League visit by Croatia three days later (2pm).

Dunk received his first call-up last month for matches against Croatia and Spain but only as a late replacement for Burnley's injured Tarkowski.

Southgate has selected him ahead this time of Tarkowski, who has been nursing a groin problem but has not yet been ruled out of Burnley's Premier League fixture at Leicester.

Harry Maguire will be missing for Leicester and England with a knee injury which will also sideline him from the Foxes' visit to the Amex on November 24.

That leaves Dunk vying with ex-Albion loan target Joe Gomez, John Stones and Everton's recalled Michael Keane for the game against the US, for which Southgate has brought Wayne Rooney out of international retirement to win his 120th and final cap.

Steve Foster was the last Albion player to represent England in 1982.

Albion manager Chris Hughton told The Argus: "Gareth would have his thoughts on the team he is going to play.

"The plus I think for us and for Lewis is that on his first introduction he was very much a stand-by player and brought in late.

"This is his first inclusion in the main squad."

Paul Nevin, Albion's first team coach, is part of Southgate's coaching staff for the US and Croatia fixtures via an FA inclusion programme for BAME (Black Asian Minority Ethnic) coaches.

Hughton said: "It is great for us as a club. What we want is for both those individuals to come back with the experiences they've had over this next week or so and ultimately, as always, be as good for us."