Nahki Wells says playing against childhood idol and former England captain Wayne Rooney was a “dream come true” and an experience he will for ever cherish.
Wells and his Bristol City team-mates edged Rooney’s Derby County 3-2 in a Sky Bet Championship match at Ashton Gate on Wednesday.
The Bermuda forward was making his full debut since joining City during the January transfer window and opened his account with the game’s opening goal.
Wells, who was delighted to get off the mark at his new club, said it was also a pleasure to play against someone he has admired since childhood.
“It’s kind of like a dream come true to play against someone I idolised and admired so much growing up and as a die-hard Manchester United supporter,” Wells told The Royal Gazette.
“To play against him and go toe-to-toe with him for large parts of the game was fun. Of course, it’s always better when you come out victorious. It was definitely a great experience and one that I will never forget. I was able to get his shirt, so it was an all-round fantastic opportunity and a fantastic day.”
Wells was one of three changes that City manager Lee Johnson made to his squad and took his chance as he headed home his fourteenth goal of the season from Jay Dasilva’s cross.
“My team-mates were excited and glad for me to get off the mark,” the 29-year-old added.
“They know I have been brought in to score goals and try and help the team get promoted.
“When you can get off to a good start and score on your full debut it settles the nerves for myself and for them. They have huge belief in my potential and hopefully it all pans out well.
“I’m just happy to get that first start under my belt and you always want to tie that in with a goal. To come out with a win, which puts us three points behind second place, and a goal makes it all that much better.”
Among those in attendance were members of Wells’s family.
“I had my brother, my uncle and my godbrother in attendance,” he said. “My family is still in London, but they were watching and it was a great day. They all had a blast.
“My brother is also a die-hard Manchester United fan. He has been there [for me] every step of the way and doesn’t miss one thing.
“He is a big admirer of my football career and he has been here from the beginning of the journey and just wants to see me do well. To see the excitement on his face always makes it that much better.”