Belfast Telegraph

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Jamal Lewis hungry to soak up more knowledge from Northern Ireland team-mates

By Steven Beacom

Jamal Lewis was making his first appearance at international level. Beside him in defence there were three men who between them have played a whopping 255 times for Northern Ireland.

No wonder then the 20-year-old Norwich City left-back loved starting alongside Aaron Hughes (110 caps), Gareth McAuley (77) and Jonny Evans (68) in Saturday's 2-1 friendly win over South Korea at Windsor Park.

The youngster can feel content with his debut performance against the slick Red Devils.

The Luton-born defender, who qualifies for Northern Ireland through his Belfast mum Catriona, said he felt honoured to play in the match, especially with players like Evans, McAuley and Hughes helping him out.

"It was amazing to train with them, put on the shirt and then play beside them. It was a huge honour," he said.

"I've obviously seen them play in the Premier League so I've tried to pick their brains and learn from playing beside them, just how they communicate and play. It is a level I'm trying to get to in my own career."

The Windsor Park experience has given Lewis hunger for more. He hopes to be selected for the summer tour to Panama and Costa Rica and to become a regular in the squad.

"The aim is to get as many caps as possible from here on in," he says.

"We want to try and get as many wins as we can before the Nations League. We have a lot of games coming up in the next couple of years or so.

"The big aim is the Euro 2020 campaign, so it would be great to be involved in that and hopefully we can qualify for the Euros again and create more memories for the fans and country."

On facing Son Heung-min, he added: "We knew he was going to be one of their star men and they'd try to get him on the ball as much possible and he obviously showed glimpses of quality, but we played him quite well and got the win which was the important thing."

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