Forgotten Newcastle United man spotted in pre-season training ahead of potential comeback

The former Norwich City left-back was removed from Newcastle United’s 25-man squad for the second half of last season.

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Jamal Lewis has reported back to pre-season training with Newcastle United as he fights to save his career at St James’ Park.

It came as a surprise to some when Eddie Howe left the 24-year-old out of his 25-man Premier League squad for the second half of last season.

The Magpies head coach cited Lewis’ ongoing groin injury as a key reason for his omission as Matt Targett, after signing on loan from Aston Villa, took his place.

In the months that followed, United, of course, surged up the league table to retain their top-flight status and end the campaign in 11th.

Lewis, meanwhile, went under the knife in Germany. And as he returns for pre-season, it is hoped his groin issues are now a thing of the past.

Jamal Lewis set for pre-season opportunity

And with that, NewcastleWorld understands Lewis will be handed an opportunity to impress Howe across the next four weeks or so and win back a place in his squad.

The left-back started four of Howe’s opening six games in charge before a hamstring injury at Liverpool mid-December ruled him out for a month.

No injury is good timing but it was unfortunate for Lewis. Having essentially been frozen out by Steve Bruce, he appeared to be building up ahead of steam under Howe.

Howe’s decision to start Lewis against his former club Norwich City in November presented the full-back’s first Premier League start in around nine months.

Consecutive starts against Burnley, Leicester City and Liverpool then followed before needing to be replaced just 15 minutes in at Anfield.

A small total of 32 appearances in two seasons at Newcastle is not was predicted when he arrived from Norwich City for £15million.

This was a player that only weeks prior to his Magpies move was subject to an approach from then Premier League champions Liverpool. That in itself proves there is something there with Lewis.

How Jamal Lewis could fit into Eddie Howe’s plans

In the coming weeks, Lewis, who still has three years remaining on the five-year contract he signed, is aiming to ensure his career on Tyneside is far from over.

The left-back slot is undoubtedly Targett to lose, especially now his loan has been turned into a permanent transfer worth £15million.

But Howe, recently as Friday, has spoken about the need for competition in all positions.

“I think you need a minimum of two players in each position,” Howe told NUFCTV.

“I think the demands the Premier League will set this year will be extreme with the World Cup and fixtures being congested, we’re really going to need that quality in every position.

“And also, competition brings out the best in everybody. It does push you to new heights. I think it’s really good for the group.”

The 2021/22 season was one of redemption for the likes Joelinton, Emil Krafth and Ryan Fraser. Perhaps Lewis will be next off the cab rank if he can rise to the challenge in pre-season.