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Interviews

Jamal Lewis on facing Germany and Holland in Euro qualifiers

11 November 2019

Jamal Lewis says Northern Ireland have the capability to tally up points against Germany and the Netherlands to qualify for the Euro’s next year.

Lewis was forced to withdraw from the last international break with a knee injury, but says the side put on a performance to be proud of against the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.

“I’ve really enjoyed this campaign. I was annoyed to withdraw from the last squad, but I needed to get my knee sorted with an injection and it needed to settle down.”

“The boys battled really well and pushed Holland to the edge in the last game. They made them play out of their skin to get three points.”

“Even in the friendly against Czech Republic, who beat England in the fixture before, they performed really well in that game as well.”

Northern Ireland currently sit third in Group C of the UEFA EURO 2020 qualifiers with 12 points, just three behind both Germany and the Netherlands, who both have an impressive 15. Lewis’ side will be going into the last two games of the qualifiers as underdogs, as they face the group leaders. Lewis thinks the team have potential to pull off an upset, however.

“With Northern Ireland, people know that we have the ability there and sometimes it’s just about getting those three points on the board," he said. "That’s what we need to do in the next break.

“It’s two big games against Germany and Holland again. We’ve shown people there’s no reason why we can’t get some points out of them.”

Playing for the national side may be a change for some players, bringing in new styles of play unfamiliar to them. Speaking on this, Lewis explained the difference in playstyle from his country’s side to his club’s.

“When I first went into the setup, it was a lot different. It’s more direct and more defensive compared to playing with Norwich.

“I think international football is very tactical due to the pace of the games. They can be quite slow for the first 20-30 minutes and suddenly the tempo goes up.

“But in the Premier League, it’s just end-to-end action and that’s why people love it.

 “With Northern Ireland, we always defend pretty compact. People may say we sit in but we are very hard to breakdown and we try and get goals via set pieces and combination play on the wings.

“It’s very different to Norwich but I enjoy adapting to both styles.”

Northern Ireland play the Netherlands on Saturday, November 16 (kick-off 7:45pm) and Germany on Tuesday, November 19 (kick-off 7:45pm).


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