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Newcastle boss Howe makes glowing tribute to matchwinner Wood

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe hailed his matchwinner Chris Wood after last night's defeat of Wolves.

Howe says he had no qualms about letting Chris Wood step up and take Newcastle United's crucial penalty against Wolves. Wood's first strike at St James' Park could go a long way to sealing the club's top-flight survival.

When asked why Wood was the chosen one, Howe said: "The thinking is he's a centre-forward, he's a goalscorer, he wants to score and I always trust my players. If they want the penalty and he's in that position, then he gets it and I'm really, really pleased that he did.

"He wants that responsibility. If you come to a club like this, you need to have broad shoulders and I think he has since he's come in."

Howe never showed any signs of changing his frontman despite a barren early spell in front of goal at St James' Park for Wood. The Toon boss has Dwight Gayle as an option but stuck with the £25million man.

He said: "I've spoken very, very highly of him in several different moments and I've said every word honestly and how valued he is to me and the team. But he needs to score, as a centre-forward here, you need to score and so I'm really, really pleased."

Howe felt the decision to step up showed a lot about Wood's character, not least after he'd watched a goal be chalked off for an offside, he reflected: "Yes, I think it says a lot. I think you're right, when you haven't scored at home in front of your own supporters, as a striker, that can be a difficult way.

"He was really challenged tonight because the goal, we thought, was a good goal, as everyone did in the stadium, and then it's cut away from him, and he must at that moment think, 'Come on, when's it's coming?'.

"He gets the penalty, he has to wait. There's a lot of pressure on his shoulders, but he struck the penalty really well. That was a big, big thing for him."

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