Kiwi football legend Wynton Rufer has hailed Chris Wood's ongoing achievements in the English Premier League as "sensational", saying it is something we might never see again in New Zealand sport.
Wood made history on Monday (NZT), when he became the first Kiwi to score a hat trick in the top flight of English football.
It was a special effort – only the third first-half triple struck away from home since the inception of the Premier League – which made headlines across the country.
But, more importantly, it continued a remarkable run which has seen Wood record at least 10 goals in each of his four seasons at Burnley.
Rufer, whose goal-scoring exploits for Werder Bremen are still talked about in Germany, is in awe of Wood's consistency.
"Four years in a row to score like that in the Premier League, and the season before that he had 32 goals for Leeds United, it's absolutely amazing, sensational," said Rufer.
"It's the same old story here, it doesn't really get recognised, you know, but you're recognised in Europe and the rest of the world, but not in your own country.
"People don't realise….there's so many other more talented players who haven't done that, you know, who haven't reached the level that he's been able to maintain each season.
"There is always dramas as well, so just having that consistency when you have to deal with the injuries and just the stress of playing at that level. It's an incredible story."
Wood is part of an exclusive club, alongside global stars Mohammed Salah (Liverpool), Harry Kane (Spurs), Jamie Vardy (Leicester City), Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal) and Son Heung-Min (Spurs) to reach double digits in each Premier League season since 2017-18.
"When you think about it, it's hard to see another New Zealander that becomes a top goal scorer in the Premier League," said Rufer. "What he has done, I can't really see it happening [again], which shows how special it is."
Rufer, like Peter Snell, Danyon Loader, Chris Lewis and Bob Charles, was an outlier in New Zealand sport, with a 1992 UEFA Cup-Winners Cup triumph, a Bundesliga crown and more than 100 goals for Werder Bremen.
Wood has since carved his own scoring legacy, with 45 Premier League strikes in a career tally of more than 140 goals in England.
It's been a difficult season for Wood, and Burnley. They were bottom of the table after six games – with one point – staging an uphill battle since, coming perilously close to the relegation zone.
The Clarets were still under pressure ahead of Monday's game with only one win in their previous eight games, but Wood's triple in the space of 19 first-half minutes has secured their survival.
After being out for a month with injury, the 29-year-old delivered when his team needed him the most, with six goals and three assists in the last six matches.
"He's got that mental strength," said Rufer, who is still coaching kids on the same Auckland fields where he mentored the likes of Wood and Marco Rojas almost 20 years ago.
"It's something, you are almost born with it, and then just to keep it going is awesome.
"It's like building up your bank account, which is just continually growing, and then what happens is that mentally, you just know you're good. The confidence is strong, and you have this sort of unbreakable spirit.
"This season was such a struggle – it was tough to get things going and Chris is such an important part of the team. It's been tough, but he is always there, he's got that amazing knack to score."
The effort at Molineux represented Wood's sixth career hat-trick, providing another ornament for his lounge.
"I've only got five hat-trick balls," Wood told the Herald last year. "I say 'only' with a pinch of salt because I am very happy with those five. [But] hopefully there will be more to come, I would like to add a few more to that collection.
"If a Premier League hat trick ever came along, it would be something I would cherish."
Wood's previous club triples came for Leicester City (vs Bristol City, Championship, 2013 and vs Carlisle United, League Cup, 2013) and Birmingham City (vs Millwall, Championship, 2011), along with hat tricks against the Solomon Islands in 2012 and 2017.
Chris Wood Hat Tricks
Burnley vs Wolves, Premier League, April 2021
New Zealand vs Solomon Islands, World Cup qualifying, September 2017
Leicester City vs Carlisle United, League Cup, August 2013
Leicester City vs Bristol City, Championship, January 2013
All Whites vs Solomon Islands, Oceania Nations Cup, August 2012
Birmingham City vs Millwall, Championship, November 2011