‘I want to repay him’ - Jamal Lewis on the debt he owes Daniel Farke
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Jamal Lewis may allow himself a brief moment when he lines up in the Stamford Bridge tunnel, but then Norwich City’s teenage sensation will be all business for the biggest night of his footballing life.
The 19-year-old has made a stunning impact in recent weeks since forcing his way into the starting line up, after a knee injury halted his rapid progress under Daniel Farke.
Lewis did not look out of place against Chelsea in the original third round tie at Carrow Road, and a nationwide television audience on Wednesday night is unlikely to faze him.
“For me, it hasn’t felt like it has come too quickly,” he said.
“Around this time last year I was training with the first team every day. I was waiting for this opportunity.
“I was expecting it and now I am in it, it comes thick and fast and I want to embrace it. Just before you go out for the kick off and you line up against these people, you see the likes of Willian and Pedro standing there and you think, ‘I watch these every week,’ so you do have to pinch yourself but once the whistle blows you can’t afford to show them too much respect.
“You know what they can do but it’s really about trying to get the better of your direct opponent.
“If we do that all over the pitch we can come out on top.
“It will be the biggest stadium and biggest team I have played against.
“I think I have used all my nerves up by now, in terms of stepping up into this level. We had the best chances in the first half at our place and if the lads show the same intensity and structure we can definitely win.
“We have to be good in both boxes, take our chances and be confident on the ball.”
Lewis has displayed all those qualities since being fast-tracked by Farke last summer.
“From the first session he told me I am part of the first team squad,” he said.
“I listened to him and he has given me new ways to play left back, to play a little higher, to make different runs to get me in a high position.
“I have learnt a lot from this manager, he has given me my opportunity and I want to repay him and that trust.
“The likes of Timm (Klose) and Grant (Hanley) help me with my positioning on the pitch and how to defend as a unit and one-versus-one, just little things to help take your game to the next level.
“The Championship is a very hard league, no doubt about that, but I pride myself on doing my homework and doing my job.”
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