SAME position, same build, same style of play, same route to English football – the comparisons with Nahki Wells are inevitable.

City may try to play it down but the progress of rookie American striker Jonathan Lewis is unlikely to stay under the radar for long.

Mark Ellis, the former Valley Parade winger, has brought him in through his Richmond International Academic and Soccer Academy (RIASA) programme, as he did with the Bermudian in 2010.

City were that keen to keep predators off the teenage prospect that they have given Lewis a two-year contract, rather than just a few months to prove himself. Mum Sarah's London roots also helped to remove any red tape.

Ellis deflects away talk of the obvious similarities with Wells but does see something special in the young Floridian.

He said: "People have got to remember that Jon is just a kid. He's much younger than Nahki was when he came over.

"I'm going to keep schtum about comparing them but I think he will do well. Hopefully he does because he's a good lad and it was a no brainer for him to come here once Bradford beat Chelsea!"

If Lewis can deliver with the same timing as when City made their move in Florida, then the deal will work a treat.

Having convinced Phil Parkinson and the two chairmen to have a punt on Lewis, Ellis set up a conference call with the player's family.

He recalled: "We arranged it to speak with James Mason – and it was just after Bradford beat Chelsea. As you can imagine, it wasn't a hard sell for Jon!

"All of a sudden then he'd forgotten that he'd had a great time training at Middlesbrough and things like that. He just wanted to sign for Bradford City, who had won at Chelsea.

"We told him it was a great club to go into because if he does well, there is more chance of an opportunity. But after the Chelsea result, it wasn't difficult to convince him anyway."

Ellis first noticed Lewis as a 16-year-old in a RIASA trial event in Orlando and invited him over to England with three team-mates from Fort Lauderdale. The coach's intuition proved to be spot on.

He said: "We organised a game against the Bradford City youth team and Jon scored a fantastic goal. Then we played York City, he got another two and looked the best player on the pitch by a mile.

"We played against a Welsh academy and somebody saw him down there and wanted to take him to Fulham. They rang me up but I knew if Jon went to London, we might not see him again.

"We had no hold on him but nobody could sign him anyway because he was 17."

John Hendrie's connections with Middlesbrough earned Lewis a few days of training there and he scored another two goals in a game in their colours. He also had a 25-minute run-out for the academy at Reading the day before he flew back to America.

Interest from elsewhere remains. Only three weeks ago, Ellis fielded another call from a Championship club unaware that Lewis was Valley Parade-bound.

Ellis said: "Jon's very confident and sure of himself. It wouldn't faze him to go and play wherever. He's got an excellent first touch, he's quick and technically really good.

"What I don't know is how mentally strong he is. I just told him not to get injured, although you can't always avoid that, because we deal with a lot of American players and they love being in the treatment room!

"He's a clever player and I always look for that. We get a lot of American kids who are good but they've got no idea where to go, especially off the ball.

"But he's definitely got that and he loves the game. He's one of those players who can always make something happen.

"I like watching him play and I can't say that about a lot of footballers. He scores every game I'm at. I think he's best as a striker playing off someone like James Hanson.

"He looks brave but we'll find out about that when he starts getting kicked. But I'm excited for him and hopefully it will have a positive effect on the other young lads at Bradford.

"Without RIASA and the scouting network we've got in the States, there's no way Bradford City would have seen a player like that.

"There are so many good players in America and so many clubs out there. But there's just as much a chance of us seeing players out there now as there is someone like West Ham."

The RIASA tie-up with City's newly-reformed reserve team will strengthen the bond and allow the club first dibs on the most promising players. Up to eight of the best talent from the Leeds-based programme are likely be involved in the club's development league set-up.

While Wells remains the standard-bearer, all eyes are now fixed on Lewis. Ellis said: "Jon's got a long way to go yet but everyone can see he's got ability. Hopefully the rest of the things, like getting physically stronger, will come on board as he gets older."

Ellis clearly has the knack for spotting a forward. During a spell with Guiseley, he was also responsible for bringing James Hanson to City's attention - whatever Dean Windass might claim.

He said: "I told Stuart (McCall) about James, then there was Nahki as well, so Jon would be a good hat-trick. I keep getting lucky and hopefully I'll get lucky again."