Proud City star admits there have been ‘mistakes along the way’ during key season
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
He is one of the poster boys for Norwich City's future direction – and Jamal Lewis has no worries over the pressure that brings.
From a £5m Canaries bond to Colney's academy redevelopment and City's focus on a successful youth set-up making up for its forthcoming financial shortfall – as one of their own, the 20-year-old's breakthrough season has been perfectly timed.
And now as a fully fledged Northern Ireland international, the left-back is excited for the future.
'I'm super proud to represent Norwich,' said Lewis, who made his professional debut just before Christmas. 'Whenever they chant I'm one of their own, it makes me feel proud. Likewise whenever I do something well, they cheer.
'So I just love being a Norwich City player and just want to kick on with the club. I want to be part of it and hopefully push for bigger things to come in future.
'I had a great pre-season and it was tough to take, getting an injury for a few months. But yes, it's gone very quickly this second half of the season and I've enjoyed playing with the lads, developing my game in the first-team environment, making some mistakes along the way.
'But the manager and everyone in the team has helped me improve and taken me under their wing. Hopefully I can be in this team next season and keep kicking on.
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'Obviously we've changed our structure a little bit with the coach and sporting director. But I think if people didn't know this was a transition season, it's very much apparent now.
'In the summer some players may come in and others may go out, but hopefully we keep our philosophy and are higher up the table.'
Nothing has underlined Lewis' progress like his Northern Ireland bow last month, allowing Lewis to return to Colney as an international footballer – not that he's about to become too big for his boots.
'Definitely not,' smiled Lewis. 'I'm only 20 and I've loved every minute of this season. I just appreciate that the boss (Daniel Farke), the club, the fans have all accepted me – and I just want to keep playing for them.
'The call-up has definitely given me a spring in my step. I was feeling a bit tired before the international break and definitely needed a little bit of a rest. Even though I played for Northern Ireland, it felt like the week was a little bit less strenuous.
'I've come back and been rested a couple of times, which has probably helped me. So the main priority is just making sure I'm part of the unit, not making mistakes and being consistent, showing the level of performance I can.
'And obviously the lads have really helped me. Playing alongside Timm (Klose), Grant (Hanley), all these experienced players who have played at a higher level and been at this level for many years. It really does help having those players around me.'
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