Eddie Howe ended his wait for a first win in charge of Newcastle United as they beat Burnley 1-0 at St. James’ Park over the weekend.
The ex-Bournemouth boss has slowly been making a difference since his move to Tyneside and he has picked up five points in four games so far, with draws against Norwich and Brentford sandwiching a defeat to Arsenal prior to the win against the Clarets.
One change Howe has made in recent weeks that could end up saving PIF millions in the transfer is bringing Jamal Lewis back into the fold at left-back.
Matt Ritchie’s suspension for the clash with Norwich offered an opportunity for Lewis to start his first game of the Premier League season.
He put in a tireless shift to help earn the Magpies a point in that game before being handed a starting berth again for the match against Burnley, with Newcastle winning their first league game of the campaign to move off the bottom of the table. During that performance, he typified why Darren Bent once described him as a “dark horse.”
In the draw with the Canaries, Lewis made two clearances, one block, one tackle and one interception whilst managing to avoid being dribbled past once – per SofaScore. He then stepped up his game further against Sean Dyche’s team, with four clearances, one block, one interception and four tackles without being dribbled past.
This shows that he has been able to come back into the team and immediately make a positive impression, helping the team to four points in two games with two solid displays. It highlights his mental fortitude and ability to step straight in and perform despite so long on the sidelines.
To that point, Former Norwich boss Daniel Farke previously hailed the defender’s mental strength after winning his place back at Carrow Road. He said:
“This was the first time he had this experience. He had to fight for his position and find this mental strength to not be too disappointed, or to doubt yourself. He had to stay mentally strong and to live another week and another week and another week. He had to show this feeling that I want to be professional, to prepare my mind and my body for this situation.
“To have this experience will definitely help him in his career, and I think that’s one of the reasons why I really trust him that he comes back even stronger than before. Jamal is no different to any other player, in the sense they want to play each and every game, but in the mid and long term he might look back on this period as a crucial one to reach the next step in his career. I think he learned a lot during this time.”
But that isn’t the only area the defender thrives in with his attacking play once being applauded by the former Norwich boss who said after a goal that Lewis had “some magic” in his feet.
If the youngster can continue to catch the eye and impress in the Premier League then it could prevent any need for PIF to splash the cash on a new left-back, having been linked to AC Milan’s Theo Hernandez earlier this year.
They could save millions in the transfer market by playing the £10.8m-rated beast week-in-week-out, with Howe’s decision to bring him back into the picture potentially a lucrative one for the club.