Haydon Roberts has been told he has qualities required for the Premier League.

But don’t make the rather obvious and easy comparisons with one of his illustrious fellow centre-backs.

It is two years now since Roberts scored on his debut when Graham Potter sent out a young side at home to Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup.

He will feature again tonight versus Swansea at the same stage, the third round.

Roberts learnt a lot on loan to Rochdale last season and might have been expected to go back out on a similar deal, but in the Championship, this term.

Instead, Potter has kept him on board with half an eye on the Prem.

He cited the 19-year-old as one of the options which persuaded him he did not need to sign a centre-back this summer when Ben White moved to Arsenal and Leo Ostigard joined Stoke on loan.

Albion have not kept Roberts with them purely to play in the Carabao Cup.

Potter told The Argus: “He’s a really exciting player.

“He is obviously young and he has got a lot to learn but he has got some really interesting attributes.

“Very strong, very quick, very mobile. Powerful.

“Good with the ball, brings it out well.

“He’s got good courage so he’s got a lot of things that are really exciting, that fit how we want to try and do things.

“He’s going to be involved (tonight) and it’s another step for him in terms of his development.

“Really excited to see him.”

Three members of the XI which started the second round tie at Cardiff – Andi Zeqiri, Moises Caicedo and Michal Karbownik – have since gone out on loan.

Roberts might have been among them.

Potter said: “When we are talking about final decisions, if there’s a loan opportunity what does it look like?

“Sometimes players are desperate to play so you’ve got to weigh it up.

“But if there isn’t one or you think he can really help us and there’s a possibility he can be in our squad and on our pitch, then we need to keep him.

“That was the decision really for Haydon.

“He has got attributes that can play in the Premier League.

“He has got some qualities.

“We need to help him get better, help him understand a bit more about what we are trying to do.

“He’s a young guy and he wants to learn so we are really pleased with him.”

Albion have produced a long line of centre-backs from Sussex.

It is easy to liken Roberts with surely the king of them all, Lewis Dunk.

Both are Brighton boys who are strong in defence and love to get the ball down and play.

Roberts has made no secret of his desire to play for Albion in the Premier League and, ultimately, to captain the side.

Is it so easy to liken the two of them – but unfair?

Potter said: “Yes, I think so. I don’t think it would be fair on either.

“I don’t like comparisons. He has got his qualities, he has got his attributes - different to Dunky.


“Dunky is our captain but he is our best player and he is fantastic.

“Haydon is a young guy at the start of his career.

“If he gets near Dunky’s level, we will all be very happy.”