‘I try and pride myself to be the best left-back in the Championship’ - Jamal Lewis challenging himself to be the best he can be

Norwich City's Jamal Lewis in action for Northern Ireland against Belarus Picture: PA

Norwich City's Jamal Lewis in action for Northern Ireland against Belarus Picture: PA - Credit: PA

Northern Ireland ace Jamal Lewis believes international football has helped make him one of the most sought-after defenders outside the Premier League, after playing his part in a winning start to Euro 2020 qualifying.

The 21-year-old did not miss a minute of his country’s European Championship qualifying wins over Estonia and Belarus, after making the left back slot his own for club and country since Daniel Farke’s arrival at Carrow Road.

Michael O’Neill’s squad followed up a 2-0 victory over Estonia with a late 2-1 win against Belarus in Belfast on Sunday night.

Lewis believes his Irish team-mates are helping to make him a better player.

“Everyone is so welcoming and it’s great to pick their brains,” he said of his team-mates. “They are really helpful in training and in games.

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“It’s different to Norwich, but a good kind of different in terms of the different players you can get information off, and that’s all I can do at my age, keep learning from players who play at such a high level.”

Lewis is part of a young crop at City that has caught the attention of several Premier League scouts as Manchester United were touted with a move for Ben Godfrey over the weekend. Lewis is no different and has been linked with West Ham in the past but the defender insists he is happy at Norwich.

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“I love it at Norwich,” he said. “Being part of something this year has been really good at this early stage of my career. I’ve really relished it and just grabbed it with both hands.

“I’ve enjoyed the changing room, it’s really close knit and together so I’ve really enjoyed having this experience with the fans and the players in the changing room.

“It’s always good to know you are doing your job. I try and pride myself to be the best left-back in the Championship. I think I’m the best left-back in the Championship. It helps playing in such a good team that has possession of the ball a lot.”

Meanwhile Kenny McLean marked his first competitive start for Scotland with a fourth minute goal in an unconvincing 2-0 win in San Marino, the world’s lowest ranked side. The City midfielder headed home Ryan Fraser’s cross to open the scoring and went on to play the full 90 minutes.

On Saturday Teemu Pukki played 83 minutes as Finland started off their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a 2-0 defeat to Italy in Group J.

Finland fell behind in the seventh minute to a deflected strike by Nicolo Barella but Pukki, who has plundered 24 goals for City in their Championship promotion assault, almost got his side back on level terms in the second half but poked wide from close range in the 65th minute.

Timm Klose was an unused substitute in Switzerland’s 2-0 win over Georgia in Group D of qualification for Euro 2020.

Young City striker Adam Idah, who has yet to feature in a first team squad, scored twice to help Republic of Ireland Under-21s to a 3-0 win over their Luxembourg counterparts at the Tallaght Stadium, Dublin.

Max Aarons came on as a 65th minute substitute in England Under-19s 2-1 defeat to Greece Under 19s.

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