Wells: future may lay elsewhere
Nahki Wells says he is desperate for an opportunity to prove himself in the Premier League with Burnley, but has accepted that his future likely lies away from Turf Moor.
Wells has made just ten substitute appearances since joining the Lancashire club in August 2017 and spent last season on loan at Sky Bet Championship side Queens Park Rangers.
The 29-year-old, whose team-mates returned to pre-season training this week, admits he has been frustrated by his lack of opportunities under manager Sean Dyche and still believes he has plenty to offer.
“I’ll go back to Burnley and give it my best effort and see where that gets me,” Wells said. “I’d still love my opportunity in the Premier League, which is still possible, of course.
“If that doesn’t transpire then something else will open up for me.
“The ideal scenario would be just to be given a chance; a chance that I can try and really grasp.
“That’s my agenda but whether that’s the manager’s agenda, who knows?
“I need to give myself a chance to get in the team. If not, I won’t be too disappointed to move on and see what else is on the horizon. Of course, it has to suit myself and what my ambitions are.”
Wells has endured the toughest spell of his career at Burnley, whom he joined from Huddersfield Town for £5 million while still recovering from an ankle surgery and had to wait more than two months for his first-team debut.
He said it has been difficult finding himself so far down the striking pecking order, having been the “main man” at former clubs Huddersfield and Bradford City, where he made his name as a free-scoring marksman.
“It’s kind of been a shock to have to try to take what little opportunities I’ve been given,” Wells said.
“I’ve never had that kind of setback before. I’ve always been the main man, done well and [been the team’s top scorer].
“I just need a little bit of luck at that football club [Burnley]; I haven’t any luck since I’ve been there. I’ve been a bit unfortunate, but that’s football sometimes.”
Regardless of where his future lies, Wells believes next season will be crucial in terms of re-establishing his stuttering career after being unhappy with his goal return at QPR last term.
“It’s not the worst situation to be in and I’ve proven my fitness [at QPR],” said Wells, who scored nine goals in 48 appearances during his loan stint.
“It was still a mediocre season from my point of view and that of the clubs. I wouldn’t change it, though; I was happy and got back to playing football.
“I still know I could have done better and offered the club more. I’ve got a big point to prove. The desire is there to dig very deep and show everyone that I’m still a proven goalscorer and that level.
“There’s some uncertainty regarding my future; that’s obvious. And I just know it’s a big, big season for me.”
Wells heads into the new season on the back of a successful Gold Cup with Bermuda, scoring a penalty against Costa Rica in Frisco, Texas, and a header against Nicaragua in Harrison, New Jersey.
“[The Gold Cup] kind of sets me up for next season,” Wells added. “I’m off the back of three games and a couple of goals; that’s what I would have liked before the competition.
“I’ve had some really good performances and led the line well in all of the fixtures, but I’d have liked to have been a bit more clinical in front of goal.
“It became easy to get opportunities in all three games and sometimes it’s easy to take that for granted.”