While game time may not readily come his way, learning from the world’s best at Liverpool will only propel Jamal Lewis to greater heights, according to Northern Ireland boss Ian Baraclough.
The Norwich left-back has become Liverpool’s first, public, transfer target of the summer with a £10 million bid tabled and later rejected earlier this week.
The Reds have made the position a priority this summer in order to provide specialist cover for Andy Robertson and with Lewis eager to make the switch, the stumbling block remains the price tag.
How Liverpool proceed from here remains to be seen, and while some have questioned why the 22-year-old would move in the knowledge that game time is to be restricted, his new international manager has thrown his support behind a move.
As Lewis, who has 12 caps for Northern Ireland to his name, will only benefit from working alongside the world, European and English champions.
“Why wouldn’t you want to go to the European champions, the Premier League champions and the World Club champions?” Baraclough said.
“Some people might say you won’t get as much game time, but if you’re training day in, day out with Jurgen Klopp and the calibre of players he’d be working with, you’re going to improve as a player and it would take him to the next level.
“It would be up to him to knuckle down if that move happens, and make sure he’s at the forefront of the manager’s thoughts.
“The amount of games they play, and the way they rotate players now, he’d certainly get game time and I certainly think it would bring him on as a player.
“And for me, as the national manager, I can see that as a step up and another player in the Premier League after Norwich, unfortunately, dropped out of the Premier League.
“I’ve spoken to two or three people about the proposed move. There have been differing opinions. As a player, I’d be saying, ‘Where’s the contract, I want to sign it’.”
The backing of the national team will come as a boost for Lewis, who briefly worked under Baraclough with Northern Ireland’s under-21s before slotting into Michael O’Neill’s first team.
And having experienced working alongside Lewis first hand, Baraclough, who was appointed Northern Ireland’s new manager in late June, spoke glowingly of his character and desire to constantly improve.
“He’s got all the attributes, he’s a level-headed kid and he’s one that wants to improve,” he added.
“You’ll find him in the gym before training and after training and he’s probably one of those kids, having worked with him for a little bit of time, you have to keep the reins on a bit so he doesn’t do too much.
“He wants to question you about how he can improve and I love players like that. I love players who invest time in themselves and don’t just settle for what they’ve got.”
It’s a positive review and a description which certainly fits the mould of players Liverpool currently have at their disposal.