All Whites striker Chris Wood has been praised by his Newcastle United club manager Eddie Howe for his “amazing achievement” in breaking the all-time goalscoring record for New Zealand.
Howe told the official Newcastle United site:
“I think it’s an amazing achievement for him and his family – a hugely proud moment, I’m sure.
“To play for your country is one thing, and a huge honour, but to actually score the amount of goals that he has and become the record goalscorer, I think is an incredible achievement.
“It’s worth noting the effort in terms of the travel, and the professionalism needed to then return to your club and give your best, but also give your best to your country.
“It can’t be underestimated, the miles that he’s covered, and he’s always done it in a very diligent, professional way so full credit to him and his family.”
Wood’s two goals in New Zealand’s 4-0 win against Fiji at the Oceania FIFA World Cup qualifying tournament were his 29th and 30th goals.
They took him past previous record-holder Vaughan Coveny.
Howe: ‘I always want a player to achieve their dreams …’
Howe acknowledged that a player’s desire to represent his country was important.
“I always want a player to achieve their dreams, goals and aims
“If that is with their country, I want them to achieve that so yes, of course, we’d love Chris with us but he has this dream, he loves doing well for his country and we embrace that.
“We want him to go and we want for him to do well – but we also want him back in one piece for us!”
Wood’s goals against Fiji helped New Zealand secure a semi-final spot at the qualifying tournament in Qatar.
Main photo: Wood celebrates the first of his two goals against Fiji.
Coveny: ‘I’m really happy for him’
New Zealand media have been quick to recognise the achievement by Chris Wood whose 30 goals for his country sets a new all-time record.
Stuff’s Tony Smith caught up with former record-holder Vaughan Coveny, now U-21 coach at A-League club Western United and he was thrilled for Wood.
“I sent him a message first thing this morning when I woke up to congratulate him
“I’m really happy for him.”
Coveny (50) said records were there to be broken and “hopefully Chris will bag a few more.”
“I’m sure he’s got that in him. He’s still young enough to play for a few more years yet.
“Time moves on. It’s a new era and a new generation of players and I just hope they continue to get some fantastic results and improve their world ranking and make another World Cup.”
Enjoy Wood’s 30 goals for New Zealand: