All Whites striker Chris Wood hopes to quickly add to his goalscoring tally after breaking through for his first goal for Newcastle United.
Wood (30) headed a Jonjo Shelvey cross into the Southampton net to help his Newcastle side to a 2-1 win that helped take them 10 points clear of the English Premier League’s relegation zone.
It was Wood’s eighth game for United — during which the side has remained unbeaten and improved from 19th to 14th place on the league table.
Wood: ‘Hopefully there’s a lot more to come’
In a post-match interview with Newcastle United TV, Wood said:
“It’s nice to add a goal, obviously, (to) start my tally at Newcastle United … that’s fantastic … but hopefully there’s a lot more to come.
“Chances haven’t really fallen for me over past weeks which happens but as long as they are falling for someone and they’re sticking them away for the team, it doesn’t matter, but to get the chance today was nice and it was good to put it away.
“Obviously, goals haven’t been forthcoming but that doesn’t matter as long as the team’s winning.”
To celebrate his goal, Wood ran to substitute Paul Dummett.
Was there a particular reason he chose Dummett?
“No, he was just the closest man to me at the time. To be fair, I don’t have the energy like Joelinton to run to the other end of the pitch.”
Wood’s goal was scored at the opposite end of the pitch to the 3,300 travelling Newcastle fans. Scoring in front of them will “hopefully come sooner rather than later.”
As for his team’s win, Wood said: “They (wins) are all special at this point. There’s a big challenge for us to get out of the relegation zone and keep out of it so we’re a Premier League side at the end of the season.”
Manager Ernie Howe: ‘He’s been a huge player for us’
Newcastle United manager Ernie Howe said:
“For him (Wood) personally, it was hugely important.
“For me, not so because I’ve seen what he’s done for the team.
“He’s been a huge player for us. He’s taken a lot of pressure off our backline and midfield, and again today, aerially he was excellent.
“He gave us an ability to build attacks in a different way. But he needed that goal.
“It was a great ball from Jonjo, and a very, very good header from a difficult angle. You could see by his celebration it meant a lot to him – hopefully it’s the first of many for him.”
Hectic schedule ahead — six games in 17 days
Wood’s selection for the All Whites’ Oceania FIFA World Cup qualifying tournament means he faces as many as six matches in 17 days, if New Zealand reaches the final of the eight-nation event.
His schedule (all NZ dates):
Monday March 14: Chelsea v NEWCASTLE UNITED
Friday March 18: Everton v NEWCASTLE UNITED
Wood will miss New Zealand’s opening game, against Papua New Guinea, at the World Cup qualifiers.
Tuesday March 22: Fiji v NEW ZEALAND
Friday March 25: New Caledonia v NEW ZEALAND
Monday March 28: Semi-final of qualifying tournament
Thursday March 31: Final of qualifying tournament
All-time goalscoring record within reach
Wood needs two more goals to join Vaughan Coveny as New Zealand’s highest goalscorer at full international level.
New Zealand’s top goalscorers: