Lewis 'forever grateful' to Norwich for allowing Newcastle move
- Credit: PA
Jamal Lewis has expressed his eternal gratitude to Norwich City for their role in allowing him to sign for Newcastle United.
The left-back departed Carrow Road last summer after City's relegation from the Premier League with Liverpool also lodging a bid for his services. Eventually, it was the Magpies who displayed strong interest in the Northern Ireland international and met the Canaries' valuation to lure him away from the club.
Lewis came through the academy at Norwich and was nurtured by Daniel Farke during his time in the first-team. City's head coach handed him his senior debut as a substitute against Brentford back in December 2017.
The defender is hoping he will be remembered fondly for the role he played in helping City claim the Championship title in 2019 and hopes the club can maintain their Premier League status this time around.
It was Lewis who scored the last goal in front of a full Carrow Road before the coronavirus pandemic saw games played behind closed doors. So much has happened for both the Newcastle defender and the Canaries since then, but he has reiterated his love for the club that developed him into the player now.
Explaining the situation last summer, Lewis says he wanted to test himself in the top-flight again and described joining Newcastle as a 'no brainer'.
"I know I'm Premier League standard, especially when I'm firing on all cylinders. I know I can be a top, top Premier League left-back.
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"Then it was like 'okay, have I done enough to do so? (stay at that level)'. Once you get the profile and the attention and people are actually putting in bids for you, you realise that you are meant for this level.
"Obviously there was Liverpool and then thankfully Newcastle came in. When I heard they were interested it was a no-brainer. It's a club that is a bit like me, it has so much potential and I just want to help fulfil it.
"I just thought it was the right fit for me. It's a big club and a great city and I wanted to grab that opportunity with both hands.
"Thankfully Norwich are a great club and they will allow you to take that step forward if they feel it is beneficial for you and the club. I still had years on my contract and they could easily just say no.
"They see a pathway there and they allowed me to do it. I'm forever grateful to the people at the club for letting me do that. I'm a big fan of Norwich City for life."
Lewis is now preparing for his second season on Tyneside after a stop-start campaign under Steve Bruce last year.
The coronavirus pandemic has robbed the defender of the chance to experience a full crowd at St James' Park or fully experience his hometown due to lockdown restrictions. That could be set to change this season, with the Premier League expected to outline their plans for the safe return of full capacity crowds in the coming weeks.
The 23-year-old started brightly at Newcastle before a coronavirus diagnosis left him feeling fatigued and lethargic for six weeks. Lewis says he returned too quickly and was playing whilst struggling for breath as he darted up and down the wing.
Reflecting on his first season at Newcastle, Lewis believes the shift in expectation caught him slightly off guard but feels he has now adapted to the demands of the locals.
"It was a little bit of a rollercoaster. Maybe I underestimated the difference. Not the size of the club but the expectation," he told the Insight Podcast.
"At Norwich, in the Premier League, if you lose, it's like, 'OK. Cool. Dust ourselves off and go again'. At Newcastle, it's like, 'No, that's not good enough. We need to do this, this and this'.
"It's just about handling the spotlight, the criticism, a different style of manager, a different style of play and stuff like that so it's just getting used to that and being far from home."
Lewis has since clarified his comment on social media explaining the level of expectations differed significantly due to Norwich possessing a squad that was young and inexperienced on the top-flight stage.
Lewis could face his former club for the first time since leaving Norfolk next weekend when Farke's men travel to the north east to face the Magpies in a friendly.