Burnley striker Chris Wood in New Zealand Olympic squad

Burnley striker Chris Wood will miss much of pre-season after being named in New Zealand’s Olympic football squad for a second Games.

Friday, 25th June 2021, 8:09 am
Updated Friday, 25th June 2021, 8:10 am
Chris Wood celebrates his goal against Egypt at Old Trafford in 2012

Wood, who played at the 2012 Games, is one of three over-age players in the could be called up to represent New Zealand in this summer's Olympic Games.

New Zealand Football CEO Andrew Pragnell said: "Tokyo 2020 is key for reigniting our women's and men's high performance programmes.

"The impact of Covid-19 has been massive on our international activity, so we're delighted with the opportunity to get our national teams playing again.

"For our men's side, Tokyo 2020 helps to re-start preparations for qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The side is an incredible group of young talent, guided by some of our most accomplished senior players, which makes for a very dynamic team playing football for New Zealand in Tokyo."

The All Whites haven’t played since November 2019 - a 1-0 defeat in Lithuania - due to the pandemic, with Wood on 57 caps and 24 goals, second only to all-time record goalscorer Vaughan Coveny with 28.

The men's Olympic football tournament starts on July 22nd in Tokyo, with the Oly Whites in Group B with South Korea, Honduras and Romania.

The group stage ends on July 28th, and should New Zealand advance, the quarter-finals are all on July 31st, with the semi-finals on August 3rd, and gold medal match on August 7, a week before the Premier League season starts with a home game against Wood’s former club Brighton.

Wood played at the last Games, where New Zealand lost 1-0 to Belarus at the City of Coventry Stadium, drew 1-1 with Egypt at Old Trafford - with Wood and Mo Salah on target - and went down 3-0 to Brazil at St James’ Park.

Wood is also likely to be away in January, with New Zealand due to play their delayed Oceania Football Confederation World Cup qualifiers, postponed from September 2020, with the inter-confederation play-offs, originally scheduled to be played in March 2022, moved to June 2022.