Howe hails record-breaker Wood
Written by Dan King
Magpies' head coach Eddie Howe has congratulated Chris Wood on an "amazing achievement" after the Kiwi became New Zealand's all-time leading goalscorer with a World Cup qualifying brace against Fiji on Monday.
The Auckland-born forward, who joined Newcastle from Burnley in January and opened his club account for United against Southampton earlier this month, has now scored 30 times in 62 caps for the All Whites to overtake Vaughan Coveny's previous record.
And Howe - speaking to nufc.co.uk at the Magpies' warm weather training camp in Dubai - was delighted to see the 30-year-old make history as New Zealand won 4-0 in Doha to take them to the top of Group B of the Oceanic section of the qualifiers for Qatar 2022.
"I think it's an amazing achievement for him and his family - a hugely proud moment, I'm sure," said Howe.
"To play for your country is one thing, and a huge honour, but to actually score the amount of goals that he has and become the record goalscorer, I think is an incredible achievement.
"It's worth noting the effort in terms of the travel, and the professionalism needed to then return to your club and give your best, but also give your best to your country.
"It can't be underestimated, the miles that he's covered, and he's always done it in a very diligent, professional way so full credit to him and his family."
Most of Wood's club colleagues are currently making the most of a significant gap between fixtures to train at the world-renowned Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex, while the trip has also been a useful team-bonding exercise for recent arrivals like Dan Burn and Matt Targett.
But as much as Howe would ideally have had Wood with his group, he acknowledged that representing his national team and breaking the goal record could prove to be even more beneficial for the big number 20 - and therefore his club.
"I always want a player to achieve their dreams, goals and aims," insisted Howe. "If that is with their country, I want them to achieve that so yes, of course we'd love Chris with us but he has this dream, he loves doing well for his country and we embrace that.
"We want him to go and we want for him to do well - but we also want him back in one piece for us!"
Watch Eddie Howe speak about Newcastle United's training camp in Dubai here
"To play for your country is one thing, and a huge honour, but to actually score the amount of goals that he has and become the record goalscorer, I think is incredible."