Sky’s the limit for Wells say ex-pros
Nahki Wells is firmly on course to follow in the slipstream of Bermuda’s most famous footballing exports.
Wells added another coat of gloss to his burgeoning reputation after scoring in Bradford City’s remarkable 3-1 win over Aston Villa in the Capital One Cup semi-final first leg on Tuesday.
Having tormented Arsenal skipper Thomas Vermaelen in the previous round a thrilling penalty shoot-out win Wells looks destined to continue the legacy of Clyde Best, Shaun Goater and Kyle Lightbourne.
West Ham legend Clyde Best, arguably Bermuda’s most respected former player, believes the sky is the limit for Wells who has already plundered 16 goals this season.
“I would hope all Bermudians are very proud of Nahki. He’s done a fantastic job and is a very good player who can play at the highest level,” said Best, a trailblazer for black players in England during the 1960s and 70s.
“I feel great when I see another Bermudian leave the Island to play with the big boys I’m so happy for him and his family.
“This country needs something positive to get us going right now and I’m sure Nahki will go from strength to strength.”
Another Islander to grace English football’s top-flight, Kyle Lightbourne, always believed Wells had the God-given gifts to retread the path he took in 1992 when he moved to England to join lower league Scarborough.
He attributes Wells’ success to the steely reserve forged following setbacks at Ipswich Town, where he had a trial as a teenager, and Carlisle United where he made just three substitute appearances before being released.
“I’ve not been surprised by how well Nahki has done,” said the ex-PHC Zebras marksman. “I think a lot of Bermudians have the talent to play in England but Nahki now has the mental strength as well.
“He and Reggie Lambe went to Ipswich as youngsters but Nahki wasn’t mentally ready at that time. I’ve spoken to him about that and I know when he went back to England he had a renewed determination.”
Wells, who signed a new three-year contract at Valley Parade at the start of the season, has attracted the attention of several suitors and Lightbourne believes it’s only a matter of time before the big-time beckons.
“Nahki’s done himself no harm by putting on good performances, especially in the cup games because he’s playing against higher opposition,” said the ex-Stoke, Coventry and Walsall man.
“He hasn’t looked out of place and I’ve no doubt his time will come at the higher level if he keeps banging the goals in.
“Scoring against Villa will give him a lot of confidence as he now knows he can score at the highest level.”
Bradford visit Villa for the Capital One Cup semi-final second leg on Tuesday, January 22.