Chris Wood says he is focused on another season at Leeds United and committed to staying at Elland Road after finishing the best year of his career as the Championship’s top scorer.
Wood became only the sixth player in United’s history to claim the 30 goals in one season and took his career tally to exactly 100 with the equaliser in Leeds’ last game of the term at Wigan Athletic on Sunday.
The striker converted a penalty early in the second half to earn a 1-1 draw at the DW Stadium, rounded off a campaign in which Wood topped the Championship’s goalscoring charts and received United’s player-of-the-year award.
His prolific form is likely to attract interest from the Premier League when the transfer window opens but Wood’s contract at Leeds – a long-term deal agreed after his £3million transfer from Leicester City in 2015 – runs for another two seasons and he looks set to remain at Elland Road with the hope of inspiring another challenge for promotion.
Wood’s flurry of goals were not enough to guide Leeds into the top six but he declared himself settled in Yorkshire, saying: “I’ve been working hard all season to do what we have been doing, trying to get promoted to the Premier League. It’s been a great season at the end of the day and we’re all looking to build next season now.”
Wood is the first Leeds player since Jermaine Beckford in 2010 to hit 30 goals in a single campaign and only the fifth since Tom Jennings reached that benchmark in the 1920s.
Twenty-seven of his finishes, including Sunday’s strike at Wigan, came in league fixtures, establishing him ahead of Glenn Murray, Tammy Abraham and Dwight Gayle as the leading forward in the Championship.
All three of those players finished on 23 goals.
“I’m very, very happy about it,” Wood said. “It’s nice on a personal note and it’s been a good season all round.”
United head coach Garry Monk championed Wood throughout the term, standing by the centre-forward amid criticism of his performances in the first month of the term.
Doubts over Monk’s future have prompted repeated votes of confidence from United’s dressing room and calls for Leeds to back their existing boss with an extended contract.
Wood said: “We all know and it doesn’t need me to highlight what he’s about. He’s a great manager, he’s a great person and hopefully he’ll be here next season. Hopefully he can get that sorted.
“This summer is huge. We’ve finished just outside the play-offs and we need to be recruiting well, building for next season. It’s going to be a big one. We’ll see what happens.”
Wood’s summer 12 months ago was dominated by international duty at the OFC Nations Cup, a tournament which New Zealand won to qualify for this year’s Confederations Cup.
The striker is now preparing to travel to Russia to feature in the eight-nation Confederations Cup which runs from June 17 to July 2 and features 2014 World Cup winners Germany and Euro 2016 champions Portugal.
New Zealand have friendlies planned against Belarus and Northern Ireland before their first fixture in the competition.
“It’s international duty for the next month for me so brilliant, just what I need,” Wood joked. “But it’s all good. I’ll get my break time – not as much as the other lads but that’s life.”