Northern Ireland call up would cap a fairytale rise for Jamal Lewis
PUBLISHED: 06:05 06 March 2018 | UPDATED: 09:29 06 March 2018
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Jamal Lewis admits there would be an added bonus if his stunning Norwich City breakthrough earns him a Northern Ireland cap.
Lewis has represented the country of his mother at youth level, but is being touted with a full call up when Michael O’Neill names his squad for a friendly later this month against South Korea.
O’Neill was at Chelsea to watch Lewis’ goalscoring display in a thrilling FA Cup replay, and the left-sided defender is in regular contact with Under-21s’ chief Ian Barraclough.
The 20-year-old has experienced some major highs in his brief Canaries’ club career but an international debut at a raucous Windsor Park would be another special landmark.
“I have had conversations with Micky (McGovern) and he has told me when they play there it is just electric, like having a 12th man on the pitch.
“It sounds like a great experience,” said Luton-born Lewis, who is still eligible to play for England.
“If it comes, it comes. I would gladly take my opportunity.
“My Mum was born in Belfast and moved over when she was 16.
“It would be a bonus for me to make Mum happy.
“I’ve not heard anything yet. Hopefully I can get in a squad.
“That would be a great achievement for me and another milestone in my career. My family would definitely be happy with that.
“Ian (Barraclough) keeps in touch quite a bit, especially through my injury period (earlier in the season).
“He is a great manager who I really like playing for. There hasn’t been any interest from England so it is not something I have to think about.”
Lewis’ Stamford Bridge cameo thrust him onto the national stage.
“Chelsea was a special night for me. I didn’t realise the impact on my family and the other people around me,” he said.
“That was nice. Ipswich was another amazing experience.
“The crowd went crazy when Timm (Klose) scored the equaliser. I haven’t been in the vicinity of a noise like that, ever.
“It gave me goose bumps, the atmosphere, the occasion. I loved it and when you are my age you want to play in those type of games now and for the rest of your career.
“The lads have helped me become one of the team.
“It’s been a good learning process but I feel part of it now.
“The boss has taken me in and developed my game.
“He helps me on a daily basis and gave me my chance so I try to repay him every game. I just try to do my job.
“It would be good to chip in with some goals and assists now, and work on that end product.”