Liverpool legend John Barnes goes into bat for All White Chris Wood

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Former England and Liverpool star John Barnes is the latest ex-pro footballer to publicly support All Whites striker Chris Wood as he settles in at Newcastle United.

Speculation is that Newcastle will target Brentford striker Ivan Toney as a summer recruit, pushing Wood down the pecking order at St James.

But Barnes says he believes Wood has done just as good a job as Toney would and can play a big part next seasons.

Speaking to ChronicleLive, Barnes said:

“Ivan Toney wouldn’t necessarily lead the Newcastle team if he moved there, he’d just be a part of it.

“Chris Wood has done well for them — he may not have scored the goals since his move but he’s been part of a team that’s surged up the league.

“Wood will never score many goals, but he contributes by bringing others into play, getting into the box and he holds play up. That’s exactly what Newcastle need.

“Ivan Toney wouldn’t score 30 a season at Newcastle because of the way they play, it’s very different to Brentford. Since Wood has been there, the team have got better and in the short-term he’s not a problem — even for next year.

“In terms of the future with the money Newcastle have to grow, in three or four years when they look to make the top four, then Chris Wood wouldn’t be the answer. Teams need to grow slowly.”

Since Wood’s high profile move from Burnley to Newcastle, some football writers and fans have been critical that the Kiwi has scored only twice for his new club.

However, ex-professional players including Alan Shearer have defended Wood, saying his contribution to the Newcastle revival has been immense with his ability to lead the line and bring others into play.

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