Chris Wood has the backing of Burnley as he looks to take a step closer to a second appearance at the World Cup finals.
The New Zealand international flew straight out of London after scoring the Clarets’ dramatic equaliser against Tottenham at Wembley last Sunday to link up with the Kiwis’ squad.
The ‘All Whites’ face a double-header home and away against the Solomon Islands to decide the overall winners from the Oceania section of World Cup qualifying.
And Wood goes with the Clarets’ blessing after becoming the latest international to sign on at Turf Moor following his club-record buy from Leeds United.
The Auckland-born striker told New Zealand’s media: “They know how important it is for me to be here. (Sean Dyche) said ‘all the best and we will see you when you get back’.
“That was all the conversation was. He is a manager that is very supportive and I am sure he will be going forward.”
Chris Wood with national coach Anthony Hudson. (Pics courtesy of Photosport Ltd)
Wood is regarded as New Zealand’s key man and will captain the side as they look to get past the Solomon Islands and set up an Inter-Continental Play-Off against South American opposition in November with a place at Russia 2018 the prize.
“This is vitally important for us,” added the 25-year-old, who was part of the New Zealand squad that was unbeaten as they exited the group stage at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and has chalked up 52 caps and 20 goals for his country.
“We want to be at the World Cup come June next year. This is the next stage in that process and we have to do the right job to make sure we go through to the next round.
“That is all we are focused on to go on to bigger and better things.”
New Zealand play the first leg in Auckland on Friday before the return in Honiara next Tuesday.