Connect in the back of the net

As always at this point of the football calendar, fans tend to focus on Premier League newcomers from abroad and the substantial figures paid to bring these players in.

However, many people forget that the newly promoted Championship sides also boast their own Premier League newcomers who could provide serious excitement of their own.

These articles seek to examine some of the newly promoted gems of the Premier League new boys, Huddersfield, Newcastle and Brighton and Hove Albion.

Out of the Premier League newbies the biggest surprise package of last season was definitely Huddersfield who were tipped by many before the start of last season for relegation back down to League One.

Instead, quite to the surprise of most football pundits, Huddersfield managed to gain promotion to the Premier League via the playoffs with only a small transfer budget afforded to manager David Wagner.

This means Huddersfield are back in the top flight for the first time in 45 years and although the whole squad was of course responsible, a few names stand out as players who could really do a job in the first tier of English football.

Manchester City loanee Aaron Mooy who has since become a permanent transfer won Huddersfield’s player of the season award, narrowly beating Tommy Smith and Jonathan Hogg in the votes and although these players will certainly play a part in Huddersfield’s campaign next season, none of them are the focus of this article.

The focus is the meteoric rise of Nahki Wells.

 

Goalscoring pedigree

Nahki Wells has been at Huddersfield since 2014 scoring 50 goals in 163 appearances and last season scored 10 league goals and got 2 assists in the club’s successful promotion push.

Clearly the player can score goals but despite this he didn’t finish as the club’s top scorer as he was narrowly pipped by Elias Kachunga, another player to watch next season.

Even though he was not top scorer for his club Wells still clearly comes with some goal scoring pedigree but it is the physical attributes and resilience that he possesses that will truly make him a handful for Premier League defenders when he plays.

The Bermudan began his professional career in the second lowest tier of English football playing for Carlisle and despite his promise he was still released by the club at the end of his first season.

 

Making his mark at Bradford

Wells then joined League 2 club Bradford and this was where he started to make a name for himself. In his first season for the club, Wells scored 10 league goals which he then backed up with 22 the following season in Bradford’s successful promotion push including one goal in the Play-Off final.

That year he was also part of the squad that made it all the way to the League Cup final beating Premier League opposition such as Arsenal and Aston Villa along the way.

 

In League One, Wells continued his prolific goal scoring form converting another 14 chances in just 19 appearances earning himself a January move to Championship side Huddersfield in early 2014 where he has since continued to score regular goals for the club whilst also playing a significant part in their recent promotion.

 

Rise similar to Vardy’s

In many respects, Wells’ meteoric rise has aspects of Jamie Vardy’s story as he has gone the long way around to Premier League football, but at 27, he still has a good few years ahead of him and with his proven adaptability and finishing touch, he can certainly continue to score goals in the Prem.

Wells’ obvious resilience and adaptability will of course be useful to him in the English top flight but this alone does not guarantee a player success; technical attributes are also required and he certainly does have many attributes that will make him a menace to Premier League defences.

The most notable attribute of the diminutive Bermudan is his phenomenal pace, something that is becoming more and more important in the modern game as counter attacks become increasingly devastating.

A large part of Leicester’s title winning 2015/16 campaign was based around the tactic of using pace to move the ball from one side to the other in a matter of seconds. This too is an area where Wells mirrors Vardy as his pace guarantees goals, particularly when coupled with the Bermudan’s clinical finishing ability.

 

Two-footedness a key asset of his

Another asset that Wells will find useful in the coming season is his ability to score with both feet as a decent proportion of his strikes come via the use of his weaker left foot.

This is particularly valuable when you consider that Wells will be facing stronger defenders than he has ever faced before who will be better at ushering him onto his weaker foot.

When coupled with his pace, ability to use his weaker foot and his all-round goal scoring knack, Wells will certainly prove a handful for all but the most well drilled of defenders.

 

With playing time, Wells will shine

Given playing time, Wells is certain to continue to score goals at this higher level as he has done in every previous tier of English football he has played in thus far.

 

Written by James Bairstow

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