Forgotten Newcastle United man earns surprise international call-up thanks to former Magpies star

There was some good news for one Magpies star that has endured a difficult season so far.
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Jamal Lewis has been named in the Northern Ireland squad for upcoming games against San Marino and Finland - despite struggling to battle his way into the Newcastle United side.

Lewis’ Newcastle United contract expires at the end of the 2024/25 season.Lewis’ Newcastle United contract expires at the end of the 2024/25 season.
Lewis’ Newcastle United contract expires at the end of the 2024/25 season.

The former Norwich City left-back has made just three appearances in all competitions so far this season and has only played seven minutes of Premier League football after coming on as a late subtitute in a 4-1 win at Fulham in October. His only start of the campaign came as Eddie Howe’s side fell to a shock FA Cup third round exit at the hands of Championship club Sheffield Wednesday in January.

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There had been speculation Lewis could be allowed to depart St James Park on a loan deal during the January transfer window and it is believed the Magpies defender was the subject of interest from a handful of clubs in the Championship. But he remained on Tyneside and has been either an unused substitute or has been left out of Howe’s matchday squad in all six of United’s fixtures since the window closed on the final day of January.

Despite his struggles at club level, the 25-year-old - who still has two years left on his current deal - will link up with Northern Ireland later this month as they kick off Michael O’Neill’s second spell in charge with a Euro 2024 qualifying double-header.

Ex-Magpies star O’Neill agreed to return to the role he held between 2011 and 2020 late last year after he was approached to replace former manager Ian Barraclough. Speaking after putting pen-to-paper on a long-term deal, he said: "I've been given an opportunity by the Association, a five-and-a-half year contract, to build something.

"Not only to build in the short-term, the qualification for Euro 2024 campaign starting in March, but also beyond that. That's something rarely afforded in club football, so to get the chance to do that here with the IFA was something which was too good to turn down."

O’Neill’s return will be a major boost for Lewis after he earned the vast majority of his 28 senior caps under the former Stoke City manager.

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