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Huddersfield’s Wells determined to do tragic pal proud in Championship play-off final

Date Posted,May 27, 2017

When Nahki Wells walks out at Wembley on Monday afternoon, he will kiss the tattoo on his left wrist as a final reminder of how important it is to seize the day.

The Huddersfield striker is living the dream – for both himself and the friend who tragically lost his life in a ­motorbike accident at the age of 22 when they had the world at their feet.

The name Wells has inked on his arm is that of Tumaini Steede, a promising striker who shared his vision of a career of goals and glory when they were growing up together in ­Bermuda.

It acts as an inspiration as well as a poignant tribute.

“The loss of my best friend is a big motivation for me,” said Wells, as he looked ahead to the Championship play-off final against Reading and the chance to become a Premier League player for the first time.

Huddersfield got to Wembley by beating Sheffield Wednesday on penalties (Photo: Getty)

“Tumaini was a competitor of mine – when we were ­growing up, we were seen as the best two young players in Bermuda – but, as we pushed ourselves, we also developed a really strong friendship.

“He also had the potential, just like me, to get this far in football, but then he lost his life in a bike accident in 2012.

“And, from that moment, I have always been proud to say that I am not just representing myself and my family, I am also representing Tumaini and his family.

“I will think about him at Wembley, as I do before every game. I have his name tattooed on my wrist and he is also the angel on my shoulder. I feel like I have lived out the dreams both he and I always had – hopefully, I can do his memory proud.”

Wells’ journey towards the Premier League has not been smooth.

Wells has won a Wembley play-off final before — with Bradford, four years ago (Photo: Getty)

He arrived from Bermuda in 2010 to combine studies at the Richmond ­International ­Academic and Soccer ­Academy in Leeds with playing for ­Eccleshill United in the Northern Counties East League, the 10th tier of English football.

After a spell with Carlisle, Wells returned to Bermuda ­before a trial with Bradford City brought the offer of a contract.

The striker then scored 25 goals in 2012-13 as the Bantams reached the final of the League Cup before losing to Swansea and won the League Two play-off final.

A year later, ­Huddersfield broke their transfer record when they paid their West Yorkshire rivals £1.3million.

Now, Wells wants to follow in the footsteps of Jamie Vardy, the Leicester striker who rose from the ranks of non-League to win the Premier League and England honours.

Jamie Vardy of Leicester City celebrates
Vardy has been an inspiration for fellow former non-League striker Wells (Photo: Getty)

“Jamie Vardy has really ­inspired me,” said Wells. “I think he has shown that ­players from the lower leagues deserve the chance to show that they are good enough.

“To do what Jamie has done is the ultimate fairytale and now I’m looking to go that step closer to the Premier League. Jamie started doing it in his late 20s and this game offers me the same opportunity.

“Shaun Goater was one of my heroes when I was growing up in Bermuda – and back home there is a Bank Holiday called Shaun Goater Day. That just shows you what football means to the people back home and they will be cheering for Huddersfield, even though it’s a working day and will be 11 o’clock in the ­morning over there.”

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