Nahki Wells warned he must warrant place in Bristol City’s starting line-up
Nigel Pearson has warned a number of his Bristol City squad, including Nahki Wells, that they must warrant their place in his starting line-up.
Despite the Sky Bet Championship campaign being only a week old, the City manager has already come under scrutiny after opting to leave out Wells, as well as Tomas Kalas and Adam Nagy, from his starting XI in the disappointing 1-1 draw with newly promoted Blackpool.
Rob Atkinson and Nathan Baker were Pearson's preferred centre-back pairing, despite Kalas helping the Czech Republic reach the quarter-finals of Euro 2020, while Chris Martin was preferred in attack ahead of Wells, who also was not used as a substitute.
Hungarian midfielder Nagy, who also featured at the Euros, was left out of the squad altogether, having reportedly requested to leave the club.
When asked about his decision to omit the three players from the opening encounter, Pearson remained adamant in his approach to his selection process and warned the trio must show they deserve to start.
“We've already spoken about in pre-season and wanting a competitive squad where I feel the players best suited for any given game are picked,” Pearson said to the Bristol Live website. “I've got to be as good as my word — I see what I see.
"I’m very pleased to have Tomas and Nahki in the squad. And Adam, you’re then talking about three players who have been on international duty who are currently not playing, but that’s how it is.
"So they’ve got to do enough to get into the team. And if they get into the team, they’ve got to do enough to stay there."
All three players were handed starting spots in midweek in the first round of the Carabao Cup, in which City were eliminated 6-5 on penalties away to League Two outfit Forest Green Rovers.
Having not exactly strengthened their cases in impressing the manager, it now remains to be seen if Wells has done enough to warrant a start in the league encounter away to Middlesbrough today.