Canaries starlet aims to nail down international left-back role
PUBLISHED: 14:39 10 September 2018 | UPDATED: 15:02 10 September 2018
Jamal Lewis is determined to establish himself at left-back for Northern Ireland after earning his second international cap.
The Norwich City starlet played all of a 2-1 defeat to Bosnia & Herzegovina in Belfast on Saturday, as Michael O’Neill’s squad began their Uefa Nations League campaign.
Lewis, 20, won his first cap in a 2-1 friendly win over South Korea at Windsor Park in March but was rested for friendlies against Panama and Costa Rica in May after a busy breakthrough season, which he had missed the first half of with a knee injury.
Since then established left-back Chris Brunt has decided to retire from international football at the age of 33, with the West Brom stalwart’s decision leaving a vacancy.
Luton-born Lewis, who qualifies for Northern Ireland through his mother, is looking to make the most of that opportunity.
“It would have been brilliant to learn from Chris Brunt a little bit and pick his mind about a few things,” the Canaries full-back said.
“Obviously he’s a brilliant player and very experienced. Now I just want to make this left-back spot my own and help the team as much as possible, kick on and get some wins.”
The former Luton Town trainee made 24 appearances last season to emerge as City’s first choice left-back and has shaken off pre-season trouble to start four of six Championship games so far.
A small tear in one of his quadriceps (thigh muscle) and illness both ruled Lewis out of pre-season action but his return to form and fitness continued against Bosnia – and could be tested again in a home friendly against Israel on Tuesday night.
“I think on Saturday I could show a little bit more of what I could do,” he continued, speaking to the Belfast Telegraph. “In the South Korea game I was a little bit nervous and the pitch wasn’t as good. This time it was a re-laid pitch so we could play a little bit of football.
“It was one of the most one-sided games I’ve ever been involved in and was very enjoyable. It is unfortunate that a couple of times we switched off at the back and they punished us but that‘s international football.
“It was a promising performance and we showed the fans we can create a lot of chances while playing some good football.
“Hopefully, we can continue to bring that to games and get wins.”