Date: 29th December 2020 at 9:15am
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According to WhoScored data, Jamal Lewis has been the worst-performing regularly starting left-back in the Premier League this season. 

Of all 287 players ranked in their data, Lewis sits at 246.

The Nothern Ireland international has come in for some criticism of late amid a poor spell for the team as a whole, with his displays against Leeds United and then Brentford invoking the ire of sections of supporters online. While it does seem harsh to pile in on one player – particularly a young one new to the club – there is little doubting the fact he’s struggled.

Caught out of position at both Elland Road and the Brentford Community Stadium, the 22-year-old is averaging far fewer tackles (1.5) than Jetro Willems and Javier Manquillo (1.9 apiece) did last season, fewer interceptions (0.5) than either the Dutchman and the Spaniard (tied on 0.9) as well as Matt Ritchie (0.8) per game.

Going forward, none of Lewis’ attacking stats per 90 minutes of league action beat anything Willems, Manquillo and Ritchie were able to produce and he provides far fewer crosses than Ritchie did while largely operating as a left-back in 2019/20 (0.8 to 1.6).

Even compared to his performances last season for Norwich – a team relegated with a relative whimper – his averages are down. In fact, there are only two important metrics for a full-back (key passes per game and offsides won over the same period) in which he’s recording better numbers this season compared to last.

That is not to say Lewis won’t improve but more a reflection on the team’s malaise as a whole. This is a young player chased by Liverpool over the course of the summer after all but seriously struggling to convince in a poor side.

There are also mitigating factors, of course. Miguel Delaney recently suggested figures within the game believe a young player such as Sean Longstaff has failed to kick-on because of the lack of top-class coaching Steve Bruce offers so perhaps the same could be said of Lewis.

Still, it’s been a difficult season for him and suggestions Willems could emerge as a target again shouldn’t be all that surprising if Newcastle do have money to spend in January.