Jamal Lewis, a star football player, has expressed his gratitude to Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill for keeping faith in him during his tough times. Lewis, who has been relegated to the periphery at Newcastle and has been injured for some time, helped Northern Ireland win a 2-0 Euro 2024 qualifier against San Marino. The player’s assist for one of the goals was a moment to celebrate, especially considering the fact that he has only played seven minutes in the Premier League this season. Lewis delivered a strong all-round display, offering width in attack while tracking back to win possession. His performance came after dark days of physical and psychological turmoil caused by injuries, leading him to reveal the lesser-known and gloomy side of football while talking about his struggles. Losing his spot on the team was demoralizing, leading to a vicious circle of poor performances that brought him further down. However, with O’Neill putting his trust in him, Lewis now feels ready to share his renewed energy on the pitch and play a role in helping the team qualify for the Euros next summer.
When Lewis first joined the Northern Ireland team, he was flying high with Norwich. The team rejected Liverpool’s bid before selling him to Newcastle for a whopping £15 million in 2020. However, a series of niggling injuries kept him sidelined under Steve Bruce, and as investment flooded Newcastle, he was unable to get into Eddie Howe’s side. He recently revealed that the psychologically and physically challenging aspect of football is not talked about enough, but retaining conversations with O’Neill over coffee helped him understand his importance to the team and take up his role of mentoring young players. While the fans may not see much of his preparation and training, Lewis feels good, healthy, and happy and is eager to share that energy and positivity on the pitch, week in and week out.
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