LEEDS UNITED striker Chris Wood will lead out New Zealand in Friday’s international match with Oman in Muscat - with the stand-in captain desperate to finally give the All-Whites something to shout about.
Wood, 23, who headed into the international break with the fillip of a goal in Leeds’ 3-0 derby success at Huddersfield, captains an inexperienced Kiwi side against the Gulf nation.
Last year, Wood became New Zealand’s youngest captain and he leads them again with regular skipper Winston Reid still sidelined, with the West Ham defender on the way back from a hip injury.
The All Whites are hoping to end a horror run of failing to win one their past 11 matches which has seen their world ranking plummet to a record low of 159.
Keen for a change of luck for the nation and relishing the responsibility of leading his country, Wood said: “I’d like to think that even if I’m not leading the side my game would still be very high but it gives that added pressure of having to be that focal point, especially up front,” he said.
“Leading the side out is a huge honour every single time and it’s an honour putting on that jersey every single time. I’ll definitely give it my all as always and I’ll lead from the front.
“I’ve been around for a while now in the All Whites so I’ll have to bring what I know into camp and be a role model for some of the youngsters that are coming through.”
The game kicks off on Friday at 3am (NZT).