Northern Ireland defender Jamal Lewis has outlined his determination to stay at Newcastle United, fight for his place and become a hit at St James’ Park.
ewis admits the past year has been “difficult” with injury woes leading to his omission from Eddie Howe’s Premier League squad for the second half of last season but he has battled his way back into first-team contention this term and returned to the international arena for the Nations League double-header versus Kosovo and Greece.
The 24-year-old former Norwich City star now wants to kick on with his career.
He told Sunday Life Sport: “The last year has been difficult for me. There were periods of niggles and injuries, especially with my groin, which was hard to get on top of, and even in pre-season I had a calf injury which caused me to miss pre-season.
“There were a few blows and knocks here and there that caused me to lose momentum but I feel like I’m on top of it now and looking forward to what the rest of the season holds.
“Sometimes you can feel quite down when you have injuries but you also have to look at the positives. I got looked after by my club and I’m thankful to everyone who has been involved to help me get to where I am now and hopefully I can build on what I have done in the past and kick on.
“My goal is to stay at Newcastle and fight for my space and fight for my spot at left-back.
“The team is performing quite well and have made a good start to the season. We have had some really good performances but haven’t picked up the points that we wanted so there might be an opportunity for me to come in and help the side. That’s what I want to do.
“I am really enjoying my time at Newcastle. There are a great bunch of lads at the club and the staff are amazing. I just need to get my foot through the door and try and impress.”
After a long period away from Northern Ireland duty, Lewis was given the nod from the start at left wing-back for the 2-1 home victory over Kosovo last weekend and Tuesday’s 3-1 loss in Greece.
Those appearances took him up to 28 caps having made his international debut in a friendly at Windsor Park against South Korea four years ago.
“It was good to be back and it was good to see the boys,” said Lewis.
“Without me even thinking, it has been a long time since I’ve been with them. It’s great to have the opportunity to go away with my country.
“Playing at Windsor in front of our fans is always a great experience and it was brilliant to get a win for them against Kosovo.”