England debut gives Rico Lewis extra Man City incentive – Isaac Johnson

Besides the fact that the spot kick should never have been awarded anyway, the Manchester City star made a fantastic first impression. His rise from academy hopeful to senior international has been rapid and well-deserved. A fantastic birthday present as he turns 19 today.

Lewis recently told reporters that he hasnt had much time to think over his success of recent seasons but he ought to take a moment to reflect on his journey for a moment or two. But not three – because there is a new objective in his sights.

The teenager had previously been asked about his England senior debut ambitions and admitted it was a desire, although modestly said his primary focus was simply improving his own game.

He joined up with the under-21s initially before injuries led to Gareth Southgate giving him a bell. When the call-up came, he was soon asked about his outside hopes of earning a place in the Euro 2024 squad given his ability to play in midfield and at full-back, where he played against North Macedonia.

Obviously, in terms of a tournament, you can only select the amount you can select and it can be a key factor in going or not going. But for me, I am not really focusing on that right now but I understand it is a key thing that could contribute to me being picked or not, Lewis said.

I have enjoyed every minute of it so far – meeting everybody, meeting the players, the staff, the training sessions, everything.

Being at games and coming up to tournaments it is important you feel as a squad that everybody is together. For me it is very important, I want to feel as close and as comfortable as I possibly can.

Lewis has excelled in Champions League group games this season and has at times dictated the play in the highest level of club football. However, when it has come to the Premier League, he has started just twice and is yet to play a full 90 minutes in the competition this term.

That feat was always going to be hard in light of the summer arrivals of Mateo Kovacic and Matheus Nunes, never mind his young age too. Lewis has matured remarkably quickly, though, having also filled in at right-back when Kyle Walker is rested.

His hybrid role of full-back-turn-midfielder perfectly exemplifies the versatility the academy product possesses, a real trademark of this Pep Guardiola side. In light of his England debut and increased club responsibility, the Bury-born footballer ought to be aiming high.

He ought not to be afraid of saying he wants that fringe Euro 2024 spot. Unlikely? Perhaps. But impossible? Absolutely not.

His best shot at that mission will be getting more Premier League starts with City and thus becoming an option Southgate keeps on speed dial. Lewis England experience can come as a renewed drive to step up to that next level at City with Euro 2024 hopes perhaps on the back-burner but definitely in mind.

The player has seven months of opportunity before him. There is little England pressure on him either, meaning he can decide how much onus he puts on the target. But he has the quality to at least challenge for a place and ought to not let modesty get in the way of early ambition.