Jamal Lewis Offers Threat Newcastle United Haven’t Had in Years

Jamal Lewis

Steve Bruce will be a very happy man after Newcastle United’s 2-1 win over Everton. Defensively, the Magpies looked solid, rarely tested by the away side, barring Everton’s late consolation. What was more surprising, based off earlier performances, was Newcastle’s strength going forward. Callum Wilson added another two goals to his tally this season and will likely steal the headlines. But it was another summer signing who particularly impressed at St. James’ Park, left-back Jamal Lewis, who posed a constant threat in the second half with brilliant deliveries.

Jamal Lewis Offers Different Threat for Newcastle United

Long-Awaited Answer to Left-Back Troubles

Newcastle are a side who have been calling out for a left-back for years. Davide Santon held down the role under Alan Pardew’s stewardship, but since his departure, there hasn’t been a mainstay replacement. Paul Dummett has arguably featured the most there since Santon left in 2015 but still looks more convincing as a centre-back. Javier Manquillo looks much more comfortable on the right-hand side of the defence, despite featuring as a left-back initially after signing. After signing Jetro Willems on loan, Steve Bruce looked to have rectified a long-term problem. But his impressive loan stint was cut short by injury, and replacement Danny Rose never settled on Tyneside.

Jamal Lewis was a pivotal player in Norwich City’s promotion in 2019. His delivery on from full-back, with the added threat of Max Aarons on the other side, terrorised many a Championship defence. In Toon colours, he showed glimpses of his crossing threat against West Ham United but has since been rather quiet. Yet, his beautiful pass to send Ryan Fraser free against Everton showed how good he can be going forward. Lewis is someone who thrives going forward, the polar opposite of Dummett, and he could make the left-back spot his own.

Perfect Fit for Steve Bruce’s Plans

There has been a lot of noise about Steve Bruce’s tactical decisions; has he found an identity for his team? Will Newcastle put fewer than ten men behind the ball in the first half? Whether or not he chooses to stick with five in defence, Lewis could be crucial.

In a back five, Lewis has more licence to get forward and demonstrate his threat from the wings. There is less stress on him to defend, with three designated men behind him. This suits him well, as a modern full-back his attacking end product seems more effective than his defending at this point. As part of a back-five, he, along with Jacob Murphy on the other flank, can truly thrive.

Even in a back four, though, Lewis can still play a large role, as the role he most often played at Norwich. This role, however, would require Steve Bruce to give him much more freedom to get forward, something he has looked less prone to doing since the opening day. There would also be an added impetus on him to improve his defending; as a defender, he is very lightweight and needs to bulk up to really assert himself.

A Talent to Nurture

At just 22, Lewis still has a big future ahead of him. It says a lot that Liverpool were after him in the summer, as a deputy to Andrew Robertson. If Bruce can find a system that nourishes Lewis’ talents going forward, while keeping the side afloat in the Premier League, he may have himself a mainstay for many years to come.

 

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