City left-back drops out of Northern Ireland squad for Newcastle medical
- Credit: AP
Jamal Lewis has reportedly flown to Newcastle to seal his transfer from Norwich City after not being included in Northern Ireland’s squad for tonight’s game against Norway.
Speculation about the left-back’s future has made headlines in recent days, with the Canaries understood to have accepted an offer of £15million plus potential add-on fees for their academy product over the weekend.
The 22-year-old played all of a 1-1 draw in Romania on Friday, during Ian Baraclough’s first game in charge, as Northern Ireland began their Group B1 campaign in the Uefa Nations League.
The transfer situation emerged after winning that 13th cap however and Baraclough has chosen Millwall’s Shane Ferguson to start at left wing-back against Norway in Belfast this evening.
Lewis was not named on the bench - although City goalkeeper Michael McGovern was - with Sky Sports reporting that is due to the defender flying to Newcastle for a medical ahead of his expected switch.
The news emerges after Newcastle confirmed two signings earlier on Monday, of Bournemouth and England striker Callum Wilson for around £20m and Scotland winger Ryan Fraser, who was a free agent after leaving Bournemouth.
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Lewis has made 100 appearances for Norwich since making his debut in December 2017, with the former Luton Town trainee having progressed through the academy ranks alongside players including Todd Cantwell and Ben Godfrey.
He only made one pre-season appearance after seeing a possible move to Liverpool fall through in August, who had an offer of £8m with £2m in add-ons swiftly knocked back as being vastly under City’s valuation.
The Luton-born full-back made 28 Premier League appearances last season and looks to be heading back to the top flight following the Canaries’ relegation straight back to the Championship.
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Northern Ireland boss Baraclough was asked about the absence of Lewis ahead of kick-off and told Sky Sports: “A lot of stuff has been going on and he has had to contend with a lot. We can’t afford to lose players long term and there is a bigger picture than tonight.
“We didn’t want to take any risks. He played 90 minutes the other day and we have to be aware of what they might pick up pre-season. If we lose someone for a couple of weeks then it impacts on the Bosnia game.”
However, Baraclough had been asked about the possible move ahead of the Norway match, also telling Sky Sports: “Exciting times for him. There’s one or two who have been in the squad and have been talking about possibly moving on to other clubs.
“But for Jamal, it would be stepping back into the Premier League. We feel as though he’s a Premier League player. He has got all the attributes for that. He’s still learning in a lot of ways.
“If he was to complete a move to Newcastle then I think Steve Bruce will be a fantastic manager for him to give him more of an education and take him onto another level.
“What a club it would be to move to. The Newcastle fans, I am sure, would be pleased to see him flying up and down the left-hand side.”