Jamal Lowe interview: Coming in from the wing to play with the 'king' Andre Ayew

Sky Sports exclusive: Swansea's Jamal Lowe discusses adjusting to playing in a central role, making the Liberty Stadium a fortress and learning from 'king' Andre Ayew; Watch Swansea vs Norwich on Sky Sports Football from 8pm on Friday; Kick off 8.15pm.

Jamal Lowe has won the Sky Bet Championship Goal of the Month award for December.
Image: Jamal Lowe has won the Sky Bet Championship Goal of the Month award for December

With Jamal Lowe, the tried and tested angle is to peer into the mechanics of his meteoric rise from the non-League circuit and through the EFL. There's no getting away from that.

​​​​It has been inspiring to have seen him sign for Portsmouth from Hampton & Richmond, win the Checkatrade Trophy, help the club to successive League One play-off campaigns and then take a richly-deserved leap into the Championship with Wigan and, last summer, Swansea.

But while fans, pundits and journalists alike will seldom fail to romanticise the humble beginnings of his career, Lowe himself is only looking to the future. He could be a matter of months from becoming a Premier League player, after all.

Jamal Lowe scores Swansea's second goal at Barnsley
Image: Jamal Lowe has scored seven goals in his last nine league games for Swansea

"I didn't think it could ever happen, especially when I was at Barnet, because it wasn't looking well at all!" he laughs, shortly after collecting December's Sky Bet Championship Goal of the Month award.

"There have been a lot of years in between then and now, a lot of hard work, a lot of disappointments and a lot of success at the same time. I'm sure there'll be a lot more, I just hope it continues in the direction it's going."

Heading into Friday's crunch clash with Norwich at the Liberty Stadium, everything is ticking along just nicely for both player and club; Lowe has seven goals in his last nine league games and the Swans are five points behind Daniel Farke's men, with a game in hand.

The 26-year-old has reason to be optimistic, having hit his stride over the last month or so in a new central striking role after forging a successful career on the right flank.

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It has taken hard graft, though. He scored his first goal in a white shirt on in a 2-0 win over Wycombe on September 26 and added a second in a 1-1 draw with Bristol City a month later, before 10 games without a goal preceded his current purple patch. The rigours of the second tier have not been lost on him.

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"It has been a challenge but one that I've been willing to attack head-on. I feel like I'm gradually adjusting and progressing in the role of playing more centrally," he says.

"I've played on the wing for the majority of my life. I had a few good scoring seasons at Portsmouth but in the Championship, to make sure you are getting more goals, obviously being central helps a lot.

"I found the step up from League One last season hard; the level, the fitness, the tempo, the regularity of the games, the schedule. But it has just been a learning curve of adapting and progressing. I feel like as the time has gone by, I've done that. I'm just trying to take it to the next step."

Lowe cites a collective effort - "the players, myself, the staff, the analysts, the coaches" - in helping to repay the faith put in him, but takes a moment to single out two individuals for particular praise: Swans head coach Steve Cooper and fellow frontman Andre Ayew.

"He [Cooper] has developed players in the past and that's what he still does, really. He has helped me massively with my game and a new position. We do a lot of work on the training pitch, we do a lot of work in the video room and it's just that constant development and learning that is going to make me better.

Jamal Lowe has praised Swansea head coach Steve Cooper for aiding his development as a striker at the Liberty Stadium
Image: Jamal Lowe has praised Swansea head coach Steve Cooper for aiding his development as a striker at the Liberty Stadium

And Ayew? He's attacking royalty.

"Playing with someone as experienced as 'the king', especially as a striker that is a little bit less experienced in that position, is a massive help both on and off the pitch.

"During games we're always talking and at training we're always talking. He's just someone that you can learn off and absorb information and knowledge from."

Looking at the bigger picture, Cooper's men are nine points better off than they were at the same stage last term - a campaign that ended at the play-off semi-final stage.

Defensively they have been second to none, with just 15 goals conceded in 26 games. It's the lowest in the division by quite some way and represents an average of just 0.58 goals conceded per game. They've kept seven clean sheets in the last 11 league games, to boot.

EFL HIGHLIGHTS 1:57
Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Rotherham and Swansea.

Making the Liberty Stadium a fortress is high on the list of priorities for Lowe, however.

"You've got to make it a hard place to come. Especially at home you want to make sure you are picking up a lot of points. Sometimes it's hard at home because teams will come and sit off and maybe not be as full-on attacking as they would be if they were at home.

"We've dealt with that well when teams have sat off or when teams have gone all-out attack. We've weathered whatever storm has come against us and I think that's just us showing the best of both worlds, whether we have to defend to see the result out or whether we have to break down a team that is playing for a draw."

With just under half the season still to play, he's now out to avenge the disappointments that made last season's conclusion memorable for all the wrong reasons.

"Swansea dropped out in the play-off semis and Wigan got relegated with a 12-point deduction that we didn't really deserve. It has put a little bit of extra fire for myself and the rest of the squad to push on this season.

"Promotion was always the aim. When you get so close, it spurs you on to go that one step further. That was definitely the aim of the squad before I arrived and it still remains the same. It's just trying to keep the momentum and not getting too carried away."

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