Channel: Leicester Mercury Latest Stories Feed
Viewing all articles
Browse latest Browse all 9894

Leicester City striker Chris Wood is the perfect pioneer for his home country


When a 17-year-old Chris Wood made his debut for West Bromwich Albion from the substitutes' bench at Fratton Park in 2009, he became only the fifth New Zealander to ever play in the Premier League.

Although still aged just 21, the Leicester City striker believes he has a role to play as a pioneer for football in his homeland.

Rugby union is a national obsession in New Zealand and the All Blacks dominate the back pages, but Wood's excellent start to his City career, which has seen the striker score six times in his first three games, is not going unnoticed at home.

His superb hat-trick at Bristol City 11 days ago made the national news in New Zealand, and Wood believes he has a duty to try to inspire youngsters in his country to take up football.

He has played 29 times for the All Whites, and experienced the 2010 World Cup Finals and last summer's Olympic Games, which has given football greater exposure in New Zealand.

However, Wood knows that reaching the Premier League with City will make his cause a lot easier.

"If I can get into the Premier League it can only enhance football back in New Zealand," he said.

"When the likes of Ryan Nelson and Winston Reid do well over here in the Premier League, it has bigged-up football in New Zealand.

"That is something we want to keep achieving and inspire new players to come through. It is developing slowly, but the World Cup helped in terms of exposure.

"It is always coming along bit by bit. Rugby is the main sport over there and trying to overtake that would be very hard, but if we can get up to par with it, it would be good.

"I think I can be a pioneer for football. I have to be. Without sounding big-headed, kids do look up to me in a certain way and I have to respect that.

"They look to me so I have to be professional and make sure I do everything right so they can see it.

"It will make headlines, and my hat-trick was probably on the news back home."

Auckland-born Wood still has family back in New Zealand, including his sister Chelsey, who has played for the All Whites at the last two Women's World Cups.

But his parents have moved to England to be with their son as he develops his promising career, and Wood is quick to admit he has had superb support.

Football in this country is in the genes as his mum is English and hails from Lewisham.

"My mum and dad live over here permanently now and they come to every single game," he said.

"My sister and family back home watch out for all my games.

"I have been given so much support by my family that I am determined to repay them by reaching the Premier League."

He admits he could not have asked for a better start to his City career, but does not care who scores the goals as long as they reach the Premier League.

"It is very nice to score those goals, and getting my first hat-trick for Leicester at Bristol is something I will always remember," he said.

"More importantly, we came away with the three points, which is what we went for.

"It has been a nice start for me. I always have confidence in myself and my ability, but it is nice to have those goals come so quickly.

"There is a long way to go in the season and we want more goals and more points, and ultimately to get into the Premier League."

Leicester City striker Chris Wood is the perfect pioneer for his home country

Viewing all articles
Browse latest Browse all 9894

Latest Images

Trending Articles

Latest Images