Jamal Lewis misses out on Northern Ireland call up through injury
PUBLISHED: 12:30 16 May 2018 | UPDATED: 14:14 16 May 2018
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Norwich City defender Jamal Lewis has not been selected for the Northern Ireland squad for upcoming friendlies against World Cup duo Panama and Costa Rica.
Lewis made his full debut in March’s friendly win over South Korea, after a superb breakthrough season at Carrow Road, but the 20-year-old is not part of Michael O’Neill’s plans for the trip to Panama on May 30, followed by a game against Costa Rica on June 3 in San Jose.
O’Neill, speaking at his press conference on Wednesday lunchtime to announce the touring party, said Lewis was not included due to injury but did not elaborate on the left-back’s issue.
Lewis played the full 90 minutes of the final day hammering at Sheffield Wednesday but missed five months of the season with a knee problem yet still finished up making 24 appearances during his debut campaign.
Michael McGovern is also a notable absentee, but O’Neill wants to run the rule over some of the less experienced keepers at his disposal as he gears up for the Uefa Nations League campaign, which starts later this year.
Former City academy starlet and FA Youth Cup winning captain Cameron McGeehan does earn a first call after featuring in Scunthorpe’s run to the League One play-offs.
Panama will use the friendly in Panama City as part of their preparations for playing England in the World Cup finals in Russia.
Marley Watkins was named in a 32-man Welsh squad on Wednesday for a training camp and friendly against Mexico in the USA.
The squad will hold an open training session in Wrexham before flying out to face the World Cup-bound Mexicans in California on May 28.
Kenny McLean is the only other member of Daniel Farke’s City squad currently set for an extended finish to the campaign, after being included in the Scotland squad for friendlies against the Mexicans and Peru.
Russell Martin and Steven Naismith are not involved and Grant Hanley was also omitted from Alex McLeish’s set-up.
Hanley featured in McLeish’s first game, after the former Rangers and Aston Villa chief replaced Gordon Strachan in March, before missing the second friendly later that month against Hungary with shin splints.
Farke revealed at the time Hanley was set for a summer rehab programme to ensure he is fighting fit for the new Championship campaign.
McLean’s impressive season at Aberdeen has seen the 26-year-old midfielder included for the friendly against Peru in Lima on May 29, followed by a trip to fellow World Cup qualifiers Mexico.
Peru have reached their first World Cup in 36 years and will present a stiff test for McLeish’s squad, who are now gearing up for the inaugural Nations League campaign.