Christopher Grant Wood (born 7 December 1991) is a New Zealand professional footballer who plays as a striker for Championship club Leeds United and the New Zealand national team where is vice captain for his country.
Wood was born in Auckland and started his senior career with Cambridge FC, Waikato FC and Hamilton Wanderers before moving to England to play for Premier League side West Bromwich Albion.
Wood has been capped over forty times for the New Zealand national team, scoring nineteen goals. He played for the side at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Early and personal life
Born in Auckland, Wood attended Royal Oak Primary and Cambridge East primary then St Paul's Collegiate School and started his youth and senior career with Cambridge FC playing in the Northern League from the age of 15, after which he attracted the attention of Waikato FC Academy prior to playing for the senior ASB Premiership club Waikato FC. He then later transferred to play for Hamilton Wanderers in the Lotto Sport Italia NRFL Premier before moving to English club West Bromwich Albion. His sister Chelsey Wood is also an accomplished footballer, having represented New Zealand at the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Chile and the 2010 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Germany.
West Bromwich Albion
Wood was recommended to West Bromwich Albion's Academy by Roger Wilkinson, who set up a trial for him.
Wood found a rich vein of goal scoring form for West Brom's youth academy side, leading to a call-up to the reserve team where he was just as prolific. Injuries to West Brom front-liners gave Wood a surprise call up to a trip to Fratton Park to play Premier League side Portsmouth in April 2009. Wood came off the bench to become just the fifth New Zealander to play in the Premiership.
At the end of the 2008–09 season, Wood agreed his first professional contract, signing a two-year deal at Albion, with a further two-year option in the club's favour. This was followed in December 2009 when he signed a new three and a half-year deal, with West Brom having the option to extend that for a further year. He scored his first professional goal for West Brom on 15 September 2009, a stunning 25-metre strike into the top left corner, in a 3–1 win over Doncaster Rovers.
He scored his second senior goal in a 2–0 win over Huddersfield Town less than seven minutes after coming off the bench in West Brom's FA Cup third-round tie on 2 January 2010.
Wood was sent out on a 93-day emergency loan for Barnsley on 24 September 2010. The loan was terminated early by mutual consent after seven league appearances for the club without scoring.
On 19 November, Wood signed for Brighton & Hove Albion on loan until January 2011. He scored on his debut against Bristol Rovers but saw a penalty saved just days later against Southampton. He added to his scoring tally by scoring in the 3–1 FA Cup win over Portsmouth. He then scored twice against Peterborough United.
Birmingham City (loan)
The day before the first match of the Championship season, Wood joined Birmingham City on a one-month loan. He made his debut the following day, replacing Keith Fahey in the second half of a 2–1 defeat at Derby County. Playing as the lone striker in Birmingham's first match in major European competition for nearly 50 years, the Europa League play-off round first leg against Portuguese club Nacional, Wood hit the frame of the goal twice. The game finished goalless. He scored his first goal for Birmingham in the second leg of the tie against Nacional. On 11 September, Wood scored a hat-trick to lead Birmingham to victory over Millwall, followed by two goals against Nottingham Forest on 2 October to take his league total to seven goals from eight games. His loan was then extended for a second time, until 5 January 2012. His eighth, to clinch a 2–0 defeat of Leicester City, came when Marlon King played a cross-field ball for Wood to run on to and, according to The Independent, "the composure he revealed to go past Kasper Schmeichel and slot the ball home from an angle was impressive". Four days later, Wood scored in the 10th minute of stoppage time to defeat Club Brugge 2–1 in the Europa League group stage. His loan ended on 5 January 2012 after 29 games in all competitions, from which he scored 11 goals.
Bristol City (loan)
After returning to the West Bromwich Albion team as an unused substitute in their third round FA Cup tie against Cardiff City, Wood joined Championship club Bristol City on loan until the end of the 2011–12 season.
On 17 September 2012, Wood completed a two-month loan deal to Championship side Millwall. He made his Millwall debut by coming on as a substitute for Darius Henderson against Cardiff City, and on his first start, scored a consolation goal against his former club Brighton & Hove Albion. On 18 November 2012, Wood extended his loan until January 2013, and scored the winner against Leeds United on the same day. On 24 November, his goal against Blackburn Rovers won Sky Sports News Goal of The Day.
West Bromwich Albion recalled Wood from Millwall on 27 December 2012, and announced the following day that it had accepted offers from Millwall and fellow Championship club Leicester City for the permanent transfer of Wood. He chose to join the latter, and the move was expected to be completed when the January 2013 transfer window opens. Leicester confirmed that the player had agreed personal terms. Wood started and scored twice after only 24 minutes in his first game for Leicester on 1 January 2013 against Huddersfield Town, initially joining on loan in order to be registered in time to play.
On 12 January 2013, Wood scored a first-half hat-trick against Bristol City at Ashton Gate to take his goal tally to 6 goals in 3 games for Leicester. He finished the regular season with 11 in 24, helping Leicester qualify for the Championship play-offs. On 12 May 2013, Wood played in the semi-final second leg against Watford. In a dramatic finale, after Watford goalkeeper Manuel Almunia saved both a penalty taken by Anthony Knockaert and a rebound which would have sent Leicester through to the final, Troy Deeney scored in the seventh minute of added time to take Watford through on aggregate.
On 26 March 2014, TV footage appeared to support Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel's claim that he had scored what would have been the first goal of his career, when Leicester equalised in injury time against Yeovil Town. However, the match officials ruled that his header had not crossed the line, and the goal was officially credited to Wood, who followed up to put the ball in the net. Five days later, after replacing Jamie Vardy as a substitute, Wood scored a stunning long-range volley against Burnley to put Leicester six points clear at the top of the Championship. Wood finished the season with 8 goals in all competitions as Leicester were promoted to the Premier League at the end of the season as champions.
On 16 August 2014, he came on for Leonardo Ulloa after 78 minutes of Leicester's first match of the Premier League season, at home to Everton. Seven minutes later he scored the equaliser in a 2–2 draw.
Ipswich Town loan
On 27 February 2015, Wood joined Ipswich Town on loan until the end of the season. He wore the number 39 shirt. On 25 April, he was recalled by his parent club during their successful fight to avoid relegation from the Premier League.
On 1 July 2015, Wood joined Championship club Leeds United on a four-year contract for an undisclosed fee, reported to be in the range of £2.5 to £3 million. As a result, he became Leeds' most expensive signing since the arrival of Nick Barmby in August 2002. Wood was given the number 9 shirt for the coming season. On 8 August, the opening day of the season, Wood made his debut for Leeds in the Championship in a 1–1 draw against Burnley. Four days later, Wood missed his penalty in a penalty shootout against Doncaster Rovers in the League Cup, with Leeds losing the shootout 4–2 after a 1–1 draw.
Wood scored his first goal for Leeds on 19 August in a 2–2 draw with Bristol City. His second was Leeds' equaliser in a 1–1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday, and scored his third goal in three games with an 88th-minute strike against Derby County that sealed a 2–1 victory. Wood scored his fourth goal from the penalty spot in the 2–1 victory over MK Dons on 19 September, before scoring another penalty in the 1–1 draw with Fulham at Craven Cottage on 21 October.
Wood scored his 10th and 11th goals of the season in Leeds United's 3–2 win over Reading. He scored his 13th goal of the season on 7 May 2016 against Preston North End in a 1–1 draw to finish Leeds United's top goal scorer for the 2015–16 season.
Wood scored his first goal of the season on 10 August in the League Cup fixture against Fleetwood Town. After scoring his first league goal of the season with a injury time equaliser on 16 August with an overhead kick in a 1–1 draw against Fulham. His 3rd goal of the season came on 20 August in a 2–0 win against Sheffield Wednesday. Wood scored his fourth goal of the season in a 2–0 win against Cardiff City. He scored his fifth of the season the following week, in a 1–0 win over Ipswich Town.
On 26 October, Wood scored his 9th goal of the season in extra time for Leeds against Norwich City in the English League Cup in which Wood also scored a penalty in the penalty shootout victory after a 2–2 draw. On 29 October 2016, Wood scored his 10th of the season against Burton Albion in a 2–0 victory. On 13 December, Wood scored his 11th league goal, which was his 14th goal of the season in all competitions, in a 2–0 victory over Reading, a match which also saw him substituted off with a hamstring injury.
On 13 January 2017, Wood scored his 16th goal of the season in a 1–0 win against Derby County to send Leeds third in the Championship table. On the 21 January 2017, Wood scored a brace against Barnsley F.C. in a 3-2 defeat, the match was the first game where Leeds had lost in a game that Wood had scored in for Leeds. On the 25 January 2017, Wood scored his 20th goal of the season in a 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest.
Wood won The PFA Championship Player Of The Month Awards for January 2017 and March 2017. On 11 March, Wood was named in the EFL Team Of The Season. On 21 March, Wood and teammate Pontus Jansson were named in the Sky Bet Championship Team Of The Season. Wood was also named as one of the 3 candidates for Championship Player of the Season alongside Anthony Knockaert and Dwight Gayle, with Knockaert of Brighton winning the subsequent award on 9 April. On 20 April, Wood was named in the PFA Championship Team Of The Year.
Wood represented New Zealand at Under-17 level and was a standout performer for the All Whites at the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup, a tournament which earned him a trial with English football club West Bromwich Albion, for whom he later signed.
After a string of impressive performances for club, Wood's rise on the international stage continued and was fast-tracked into All Whites coach Ricki Herbert's squad for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa, and made his debut in a friendly against Tanzania on 3 June 2009 in a warm up match to the tournament.
In May 2010, he was named in the All Whites World Cup squad, and at 18 was the youngest member of the New Zealand team which travelled to South Africa. He came on as a substitute in All Whites first group match in a 1–1 draw against Slovakia and New Zealand's first ever point in a World Cup finals match. On 20 June 2010, Wood came on as a substitute in New Zealand's famous 1–1 draw against Italy, Wood also came on as a substitute in the 0–0 draw against Paraguay on 24 June, New Zealand were knocked out of the tournament after drawing all three Group games.
Wood scored his first official international goal on 10 October 2010 in his country's 1–1 draw with Honduras He was given a yellow card for the unusual nature of his celebration of the goal, where he revealed his underwear to the spectators.
Wood scored his first international hat-trick against Solomon Islands on 10 June 2012 in the 3rd/4th play-off of the OFC Nations Cup. Wood was named in New Zealand Under 23's Squad for the 2012 Olympics where they lost to Belarus national under-23 football team on 26 July, before Wood scored for New Zealand Under 23's in a 1–1 draw against Egypt Under 23's on 29 July 2012 at Old Trafford, Wood also started the final group game in a 3–0 defeat to Brazil Under 23's which saw New Zealand Olympic squad knocked out of the tournament.
On November 14, 2014, Wood became the youngest ever captain for NZ All Whites, a record previously held by Tommy Smith.
Wood scored 4 goals in the 2016 OFC Nations Cup for New Zealand, helping them win the tournament and to qualify for the Confederations Cup.
With Wood being his country's vice captain, in the absence of captain Winston Reid, Wood Captained his country twice during the month of November 2016, in a 3–0 victory against New Caledonia, and then a 0–0 draw also against New Caledonia.
|1||9 October 2010||North Harbour Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand||
|2||29 February 2012||Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand||
|3||4 June 2012||Lawson Tama Stadium, Honiara, Solomon Islands||
||Papua New Guinea||
||2014 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|4||6 June 2012||
|5||10 June 2012||
|8||7 September 2012||Stade Numa-Daly Magenta, Nouméa, New Caledonia||
|9||11 September 2012||North Harbour Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand||
|10||14 November 2012||Hongkou Football Stadium, Shanghai, China||
|11||5 March 2014||National Olympic Stadium, Tokyo, Japan||
|13||14 November 2014||Nanchang Bayi Stadium, Nanchang, China||
|14||12 November 2015||Al-Seeb Stadium, Muscat, Oman||
|15||28 May 2016||Sir John Guise Stadium, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea||
||2016 OFC Nations Cup|
|16||31 May 2016||
|18||8 June 2016||
|19||25 March 2017||Churchill Park, Lautoka, Fiji||
||2018 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|Club||Season||League||National Cup||League Cup||Other||Total|
|West Bromwich Albion||2008–09||Premier League||2||0||0||0||0||0||—||2||0|
|Brighton & Hove Albion (loan)||2010–11||League One||29||8||2||1||—||—||31||9|
|Birmingham City (loan)||2011–12||Championship||23||9||—||0||0||6||2||29||11|
|Bristol City (loan)||2011–12||Championship||19||3||—||—||—||19||3|
|Ipswich Town (loan)||2014–15||Championship||8||0||—||—||—||8||0|
West Bromwich Albion
- Football League Championship runners-up: 2009–10
Brighton & Hove Albion
- Football League One: 2010–11
- Football League Championship: 2013–14
- New Zealand U-20 Men's Player of the Year: 2008, 2009, 2011