Norwich left-back Jamal Lewis cannot wait for Premier League football

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Norwich left-back Jamal Lewis cannot wait to begin life as a Premier League footballer (Chris Radburn/PA)

Jamal Lewis is itching to test himself in the Premier League after helping Norwich to the Championship title last term.

The 21-year-old left-back has enjoyed a rapid rise since making his Canaries debut in December 2017 and is now established as a first-choice both for his club and Northern Ireland.

He has passed most tests that have come his way with distinction but knows harder examinations will follow next season as he faces the likes of Raheem Sterling and Mohamed Salah in the top flight.

“With the winger position, I think there’s quite a big gulf between the Championship and the Premier League, definitely a jump in quality,” Lewis said.

“I pride myself on trying to be a good defender first so I will truly be tested and we’ll see if I actually am.”

His pride may be in defending but Lewis has also proven a capable attacking force for Norwich, using his pace to get up and down the wing and send in dangerous crosses.

That is something he hopes to continue even if Norwich can expect to see far less of the ball than they enjoyed in the Championship.

“The manager will want us to still play our style of football,” he said.

“He might make some adjustments, he might not. I don’t know. Hopefully I’ll still play that kind of attacking football in some games. There’ll be some teams where we have to balance it off a bit as some teams will dominate possession more than us.

“It’s all about adapting. I’m looking forward to playing different teams, different styles and coming up with different solutions to problems.”

The Luton-born player is hoping to find that ideal balance of attack and defence which has become the hallmark of the modern full-back.

“Some years ago full-back might have been a bit of a ‘throwaway’ position, you could stick anyone there,” Lewis said.

“You can still do that, but in teams that play attacking football, like Liverpool, you see how many opportunities Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold create for their team.

“If you place that importance on a full-back, it’s a position that can give outlets to your team.

“When I’m playing for Northern Ireland and Norwich I try to get forward as much as possible and try to create a threat, even if that’s creating space for the attacking players then I’m happy to do so.”

Lewis certainly shows no signs of fear, suggesting his ideal first fixture would be away to Manchester United.

“You would like a big team on the first day, to get a bit of publicity and a good little performance,” he said.

“I would like that, it would be a really nice fixture but any fixture is going to be a big one because there are a lot of people in the team who will be playing in the Premier League for the first time.”

With games for Northern Ireland against Estonia on Saturday and Belarus on Tuesday, Lewis said his off-season was already over, with Norwich having given him an extensive training plan for the summer.

“It’s just part of the game now,” he said. “Maybe way back you could almost take the break and literally come back a little bit fit and work yourself back in pre-season.

“But now, I think especially in our position, going into something that we haven’t done before with the Premier League, we have to come back prepared.”