All Whites striker Chris Wood has praised Leicester City's new coaching initiative for helping him score a season-opening goal that looks certain to prolong his stay in the English Premier League.
Wood came off the bench to score Leicester's crucial late goal in their 2-2 draw with Everton last weekend as the English season kicked off.
Having resisted overtures to look for work in the lower leagues and deciding instead to battle for his EPL jersey, Wood's goal shapes as an early lifeline for him as well as a crucial point for his team.
Wood was quick to praise his specialist coach Kevin Phillips as Leicester eye a second round clash with glamour side Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday (NZ time).
Phillips has just stepped up to an assistant coaching role after a long career spent with some of the less fashionable clubs. Phillips was a prolific scorer, netting 246 goals in 579 appearances in a 20-year stint that included eight caps for England.
Phillips' task is to bring a ruthless approach to the Leicester strike force, especially at close quarters with first-time finishing which was his personal hallmark.
Wood showed he was the perfect student with his clinical goal last weekend, scored four minutes from fulltime.
"The ball just popped out nicely. It was one of those finishes I've been working on with Kev, so it was a lovely start," Wood told the Leicester Mercury newspaper on Thursday as he continued to grab the spotlight.
"Kev was a great player, we all know that, and he has been working with us a lot over pre-season.
"He has got us into our little sessions during and after training, so it is something we can build on."
The 22-year-old Wood believes he can learn plenty from Phillips who remains the only English player to win the Golden Shoe, awarded to the top striker across all European leagues after scoring 30 Premier League goals for Sunderland in the 1999-2000 season.
"Kev has got great experience, so we will learn a lot from him. He had a knack at being in the right place at the right time and, thankfully, I was in the right place at the right time.
"It was just about getting a nice contact, getting my head down and finishing it nicely."
Phillips, 40, ended his playing career earlier this year after joining Leicester from Crystal Palace and helping "The Foxes" win promotion to the Premier League.
That was a dream result for Wood, returning him to the top division where he had started his English career with West Bromwich Albion in 2009 before being loaned all over the country.
Wood's season-opening goal raised further questions about his future but Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson squashed talk of any move, indicating he wants to keep the Kiwi in his mix.
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