Northern Ireland boss thinks Canaries prospect Lewis is a star in the making

PUBLISHED: 12:25 07 September 2018 | UPDATED: 12:46 07 September 2018

Jamal Lewis is making big strides for club and country Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Jamal Lewis is making big strides for club and country Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Paul Chesterton

Jamal Lewis can be a superstar, insists his Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill.

The 20-year-old, pictured, has already established himself as Norwich City’s first choice left back, and there is now a vacancy to do the same at international level following the recent retirement of Chris Brunt.

Lewis missed out on a summer tour through injury, following his stunning club breakthrough and senior Northern Ireland debut last season against South Korea.

The youngster, however, is in line to start on Saturday in the Uefa Nations opener against Bosnia in Belfast, and O’Neill is in no doubt the Canaries’ starlet is a hot prospect.

“We really liked what we saw of him against South Korea and I think he’s a player with a big, big future,” said O’Neill. “Unfortunately, Jamal missed the summer tour of Central America so it’s good to have him back in. Jamal could easily be with the 21s, so we have to be realistic.

“He’s played, I think, maybe 20 first-team games over the course of this season and last, so we have to give him time.

“In relation to the left-back position, Daniel Lafferty would be another option, but he has played very little over the last 18 months at Sheffield United, so there’s a real opportunity for Jamal to come in and make that position his own.

“I think the Bosnia game is going to be tough, they’re a good team.

MORE: Have your say on our Pinkun forum

“I looked at their World Cup qualifying group and probably one result cost them.

“In (Edin) Dzeko they’ve got one of the top strikers in Europe and (Miralem) Pjanic is arguably one of the top midfield players, certainly in Serie A.”

Lewis’ club and international team mate, Michael McGovern, faces a battle to stay ahead of Leeds’ rising talent Bailey Peacock-Farrell to retain the number one jersey for his country.

“It’s not so much a headache but I’ve got three good goalkeepers so it’s a nice problem to have,” said O’Neill. “Michael’s situation at Norwich hasn’t changed a lot but Trevor (Carson) and Bailey are playing and Bailey is playing in a team at the top end of the Championship. He’s had a very good start, four clean sheets in six games that he has played.

“It’s a nice problem to have. Too often in the past we have had players not presenting us with this choice.”

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Norwich Evening News. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.

Related articles

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Norwich Evening News