Noel Whelan gives his verdict on Chris Wood after striker earns Leeds first point
By Alex Stevens
Noel Whelan praised Chris Wood’s spectacular equaliser as Leeds salvaged a point on Tuesday but believes the striker can still do better.
Garry Monk’s side came from a goal down to draw 1-1 against Fulham at Elland Road and finally provide lift-off to their league campaign.
Ex-Leeds midfielder Tom Cairney, who was released by the Yorkshire club aged 16 for being too small, put the visitors ahead after 77 minutes with a left-footed shot from the edge of the box.
The home team pushed hard for an equaliser and finally got their reward two minutes into injury time when striker Wood struck an overhead kick from inside the area.
Wood’s first league goal of the season provided an answer to his critics who were unimpressed by his displays in Leeds’ first two league matches, which they lost against QPR and Birmingham.
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“He took it very well, made a good connection, adjusted his body well, you can’t say fairer than that,” Whelan said to the BBC Radio Leeds post-match programme on Tuesday night. “I understand why people are a little bit disappointed with him, he is missing the easier chances and putting away the harder ones.
“I’ve said it a thousand times, we are still a good striker light, a £3-4million type player if we can afford it.”
The New Zealand international, 24, had been hauled off by manager Garry Monk at the hour mark in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat against Birmingham.
But Monk persisted with Wood and he formed a two-pronged attack with summer signing Marcus Antonsson for the second consecutive Championship match,
Wood was Leeds’ leading scorer with 13 goals last season, all of which were scored in the Championship, four more than Mirco Antenucci, who was released by the Yorkshire giants during the summer.
Despite firing blanks in the two league matches, he did open his account for the season in EFL shoot-out win over Fleetwood in midweek, scoring with a penalty in normal time of the clash.
In other Leeds news, the club are close to signing a three-times league winner.