STRIKER Chris Wood said Leeds United were “back on the map” – as the striker urged Garry Monk’s managerial successor to build on a solid platform at Elland Road.
Leeds are continuing to work hard towards appointing a successor to former head coach Monk who resigned from his role a week last Thursday.
The 39-year-old said he was unable to agree a suitable way to move forward with new Whites owner Andrea Radrizzani who was intent on offering Monk a new three-year deal.
Leeds are keeping their cards close to their chest in terms of revealing the identity of a potential successor, but the YEP understands that Aitor Karanka, Michael Laudrup and Simon Grayson are not currently being considered, contrary to earlier reports.
And Wood is urging whoever emerges as the new Whites boss to use the foundations laid by Monk last season that saw Leeds to their highest finish in the Championship since 2011.
Wood enjoyed a superb season on a personal level with the striker netting 30 goals in all competitions, becoming only the sixth player in United’s history to reach that milestone.
The New Zealand international also finished top of the Championship goalscoring charts – four clear of Brighton forward Glenn Murray.
The striker is now set for a busy summer with New Zealand who are counting down the days to their Confederations Cup campaign in Russia which begins on June 17.
“Personally it was a great season for me,” said Wood, reflecting on 2016-17.
“I really enjoyed my season and put Leeds back on the map and in a position that we want to be.
“It has been a great season and hopefully I can take that into this summer campaign.”
Reflecting on the departure of Monk, Wood reasoned: “Of course we were hoping he (Monk) was going to stay on.
“It’s unfortunate that he had his reasons after speaking with the owner – it just didn’t come to the fore that he could continue. It’s football, it’s life, we’ve got to move on from it and look to the future and we wish him all the best.”
Wood added: “We’ve got the foundations, you have to build on it.
“We can’t be tearing those down to start new ones. Hopefully the manager that does come in will build on them and bring his own style but keeping the style that we had last season.”
Wood faced his Whites team-mate on Friday as New Zealand travelled to Northern Ireland for an international friendly.
Wood played the full 90 minutes while Dallas started and played 74 minutes before being substituted for St Johnstone’s Paul Paton.
A sixth-minute strike from Liam Boyce ensured Northern Ireland bagged a 1-0 victory.
“Stuey is a great player and a top man and he is always one of the first names down on the team sheet because he has that much influence on our team,” said Wood, who is now facing a trip to Belarus with his national side.
The All Whites have a friendly with Belarus next Sunday, six days before their Confederations Cup campaign begins.
The striker is now hoping that in the long term all roads lead to next year’s World Cup in Russia. “It was huge for football in 2010 after we got back from the World Cup, football took off again,” said Wood.
“We know it is what can happen in New Zealand if we do well at major competitions.
“The Confederations Cup will be the same thing.
“When we go and do well there it will take off again and hopefully progress into Russia the following year.”
Leeds have five players currently on international duty with Ronaldo Vieira representing England under-20s in the Toulon tournament whilst Pontus Jansson and Eunan O’Kane are away with Sweden and the Republic Of Ireland respectively.