Why former Leeds United man Chris Wood is fighting for equality in women's football

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Ex-Leeds United hero Chris Wood has given an interview about how the experiences of his girlfriend and sister have shaped his desire to fight for women's football.

The striker, now with Burnley, is in a relationship with Liverpool Women and England under-23 star Kirsty Linnett - and the couple have given a joint interview to The Guardian about their differing experiences of the professional game.

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Wood's sister Chelsey also plays international football for their home country New Zealand, and the pair played together in junior teams until the age of 12.

In 2017, when Wood was still at Elland Road, Linnett was playing for Notts County, and they had bought a home near Sheffield. Just two days before a Women's Super League match against Arsenal, Notts County announced that their ladies' team was folding due to financial losses.

Wood told the newspaper that he initially misunderstood Linnett and thought the entire club had collapsed - only to be corrected by his girlfriend, who told him the men's team was unaffected.

Without an income or a team, Linnett was forced to move out of their home to play for Reading, joining four team-mates in a shared house. The striker pointed out that many clubs' men's teams also lose money and do not face liquidation. Some of her former Notts County team-mates never returned to football.

Wood, who scored 41 goals in 83 appearances for Leeds United, joined Burnley four months later and Linnett transferred to Liverpool that summer, enabling the couple to finally settle down in Cheshire.

The New Zealand vice-captain told The Guardian that 'the liquidation would never happen in the men's game' and that 'things happen in the women's game that should not happen'.

The 26-year-old is a board member of his country's Professional Footballers' Association, and was instrumental in brokering a deal which allowed the national women's side to take home the same pay, prize money, image rights and travel deals as the men.

Wood, who moved to England aged 16 for a trial with West Brom, has spoken out in support of the time and commitment given by female athletes, and criticised the lack of funding given to hopefuls who had to move to Auckland to train with the national set-up.

Linnett added that only 40 per cent of England's top female professionals make a 'normal wage'.

The interview ended on a lighter note, with the pair admitting they criticise each other's performances and revealing that they watch plenty of football on TV at home - much to the envy of Wood's team-mates.

Read the interview here.