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Newcastle: Chris Waugh backs Jamal Lewis to start v Norwich

Newcastle: Chris Waugh backs Jamal Lewis to start v Norwich -Newcastle United News

Jamal Lewis could make his first start of the season when Newcastle United face Norwich City tonight, according to The Athletic‘s Chris Waugh. 

The lowdown

The 23-year-old has only seen six minutes of Premier League action this season, having come on as a substitute in the 4-1 defeat against Manchester United. His solitary start in 2021/22 thus far came in the Carabao Cup defeat against Burnley back in August.

He may have hoped that Steve Bruce’s sacking would improve his prospects of game-time, but he didn’t feature under Graeme Jones’ caretakership and hasn’t been given a chance by Eddie Howe as of yet.

However, that could change when his former club visit St James’ Park tonight. Matt Ritchie, who started at left-back against Arsenal last time out, is suspended after picking up five yellow cards since the start of the campaign.

The latest

During a Q&A for The Athletic on Monday ahead of the match, one Newcastle supporter voiced concerns over Howe apparently being ‘uninterested’ in Lewis, but Waugh swiftly moved to allay those fears, even claiming that the Northern Ireland defender could come into the team against the Canaries.

The journalist stated: “As for Lewis, again, he was on international duty when Howe first arrived, but also his lack of game-time (and confidence) has been counting against him. But Howe is keen to improve Lewis, a young player he sees great potential in, and so in the medium term he the left-back could see more action – and could even start tomorrow night, with Ritchie being suspended.”

Waugh then added: “In time, I do think he will get more opportunities and I actually think he might start tomorrow night. It’s against his former club and Ritchie is suspended, so I do hope Lewis is given an opportunity.”

The verdict

Newcastle forked out £15m to sign Lewis in 2020 and they are paying him roughly £38.5k per week. It was a big investment, and expectations were perhaps heightened by the fact that Liverpool pursued him earlier in that transfer window.

If he can’t get a chance to impress now, so soon after a change of manager and with a positional rival suspended, then it mightn’t be long before he begins to consider his future.

On the other hand, if he does get picked, the challenge for the 23-year-old is producing a performance good enough to give Howe a selection headache when he’s had so few minutes under his belt and may be lacking sharpness as a result. Opportunity does seem to knock for Lewis tonight in the enforced absence of Ritchie.

In other news, Newcastle have enquired about this midfielder

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Article title: Newcastle: Chris Waugh backs Jamal Lewis to start v Norwich

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