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Wood In 'Strongest' NZ Side

Chris Wood one of eight Clarets on international duty

6 November 2017

Chris Wood is part of the ‘strongest’ possible line-up available to New Zealand coach Anthony Hudson as the All Whites prepare for their World Cup play-off against Peru.

Wood – who has scored 24 goals in 54 appearances for his country – flew out of London following the Clarets’ 1-0 win at Southampton on Saturday.

And Hudson is delighted to be able to call on the Burnley striker – who proved his fitness following a hamstring injury by starting at the St Mary’s Stadium – and fellow Premier League performer Winston Reid.

West Ham captain Reid is also joined in the New Zealand squad by Ipswich Town defender Tommy Smith and Netherlands-based midfielder Ryan Thomas.

“The fact we’ve got Tommy, Winston, Chris and Ryan in and they haven’t played together for the All Whites together since I’ve been in charge is positive,” said Hudson.

“For the first time in three years, we’ll potentially have the strongest eleven we’ve had and I think we’re in a very fortunate position to have everyone available.”

New Zealand play the first leg of the play-off in Wellington on Saturday, 11 November before going to Peru for the second leg in Lima on 15 November.

Wood is one of eight Burnley players on international duty during the Premier League break.

The quartet of Robbie Brady, Jeff Hendrick, Stephen Ward and Kevin Long will be hoping to help the Republic of Ireland get past Denmark in their two-legged play off to reach Russia 2018.

Martin O’Neill’s side is away to Denmark on 11 November before the return in Dublin on 14 November.

Johann Berg Gudmundsson is already guaranteed a place in the World Cup finals with Iceland and is part of his country’s preparations for friendlies against the Czech Republic on 8 November and Qatar on 14 November – both in Doha.

Steven Defour is in the Belgium squad for home friendlies against Mexico and Japan on 10 and 14 November.

And Sam Vokes – the Clarets’ match-winner at Southampton – is in the Wales squad for a friendly against France in Paris on Friday, 10 November and another at home to World Cup finalists Panama on Tuesday, 14 November.

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