Eddie Howe handed Jamal Lewis his first Newcastle appearance of 2022 last night, with the defender coming off the bench in the 2-1 Carabao Cup win over Tranmere.

The left-back was named as a substitute for the first time this season. He then came on at half time to replace Matt Targett.

The Northern Ireland international was solid, and played his part in getting the Magpies through to round three where they will face Crystal Palace.

It was Lewis’ first appearance for Newcastle since December last year, back when he limped off injured in a defeat to Liverpool.

Tranmere Rovers v Newcastle United - Carabao Cup Second Round
Photo by Richard Callis/MB Media/Getty Images

He was subsequently dropped from the Premier League squad, then had an injury hit pre-season.

But he eventually made his comeback in a Toon shirt last night, and Howe praised the £15million man.

Howe on Lewis vs Tranmere

After the game, Howe spoke to NUFC TV. The Toon boss was asked about the returning Jamal Lewis.

“He can have an important role,” he said.

“He’s very athletic. He’s a very good character and a very good all round player.

Newcastle United Pre-Season Training Session
Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images

“He is very attacking minded, so that’s very much the model of full-back we love. We will wait and see what happens with him but very pleased with him today, it was an important return.”

Howe’s comments are very interesting, especially when you consider the defender was linked with a move away just hours before kick off.

Nice reportedly want to sign Jamal Lewis

Ahead of Wednesday night’s game, reports emerged from France that Lewis is the subject of interest from Nice.

According to L’Equipe, the Ligue 1 side are interested in signing the 24-year-old. They have reportedly made him their new priority, having also completed deals for Aaron Ramsey and Kasper Schmeichel this summer.

Newcastle United Training Session
Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images

If Nice do decide to make a move for Lewis, it will leave Newcastle with a big decision to make. Should he stay or should he go?

Howe believes he can play an important role, and fits the mould of what he wants in a full-back. However, the Magpies have multiple players who can operate at left-back. We’ve seen Dan Burn do it in recent weeks and play very well.

This could be seen as an opportunity to move Lewis on, who has really struggled for form in a Newcastle shirt.

The decision will lie with Howe, who is clearly very fond of the former Norwich ace. He’s still young enough to have a bright future, but it remains to be seen if that future will be at St James’ Park.

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