Newcastle United defender Jamal Lewis has revealed that former Magpies goalkeeper and current coach Steve Harper played a big role helping him make the switch to St James’ Park this summer.
Lewis arrived at Newcastle from Norwich City on a five-year deal for a fee of £15 million which could rise to £20 million with add-ons. The 22-year-old replaced Danny Rose as the Magpies’ new left-back, after the Tottenham full-back returned to his parent club following his loan spell at St James’ Park.
Harper and international progression key to move
The Northern Ireland international has already started to make an impression for Steve Bruce’s side. The defender has so far helped the Magpies pick up one clean sheet in his first four matches, whilst also winning an average of 2.5 duels per game so far this term, as per Sofasore.
The 22-year-old already has gained a lot of invaluable experience playing a pivotal role in helping Norwich secure the Championship title in the 2018/19 season, before being an important member of their side in the Premier League last term. He has also gained recognition with Northern Ireland, establishing himself as his nation’s first-choice left-back.
Speaking to BBC Sport, Lewis outlined that he believes the chance to develop his game on the international stage has played a key role in helping him earn a move back to the Premier League. While he also suggested that Harper, who also works as a coach with Northern Ireland, was key to making the move happen.
He said: “It played a pivotal role obviously playing at international level is always helpful to show your ability against top players, top teams and to be able to show that you can adapt to a new set up and atmosphere.
“So, obviously Harps (Steve Harper) was here as well who has a connection to Newcastle. I’m sure he gave me a great word there and a good reference. So I think it’s played a pivotal role (international football) which I’m forever grateful for.”
Signing Lewis could prove a bargain for Newcastle
Lewis is a player with vast potential, and he could go onto to become a very impressive full-back, with the 22-year-old possessing all the tools needed to make a modern-day left-back. The Northern Ireland international is comfortable in possession having averaged a 79% passing accuracy with Norwich last term, whilst also solid defensively with 1.8 tackles per game last season (via Sofascore).
Newcastle could turn out to be very grateful to Harper if Lewis goes onto reach his full potential over the next few years, with the Magpies having only paid an initial £15m for him. That could prove to be a bargain if he continues his development in both the Premier League and with his country.
Geordies, what have you made of Lewis’ performances so far for Newcastle? Let us know your thoughts below!
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