In racing to five Premier League goals in 19 games, Chris Wood has out-performed some of the biggest names in Premier League history — including Andriy Shevchenko, Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge.

The New Zealand striker won't get much of a Christmas break, as Burnley have games on December 24 and 27 (NZT), but any seasonal feast will be well savoured, as Wood has made a great fist of his first real stint in the English top flight.

His brief Premier League appearances with West Bromwich Albion as a teenager in 2009 and 2010 don't really count — he had a total of nine minutes in two matches — and his time with Leicester City in the 2014-15 season was something of a false start, with seven second-half appearances off the bench, and a total of only 107 minutes on the field.

Burnley presented him with his first real opportunity, and boy has he delivered.


His goals have directly earned the Clarets eight Premier League points, he has performed beyond expectations, and is the leading scorer at Turf Moor.

The Premier League is a fearsome proving ground, and suffers no fools.

But Wood has looked ready from the start when his calm 93rd-minute equaliser at Wembley against Spurs ensured a fairy tale Burnley debut.

He netted again the following week, grabbing the winner against Crystal Palace.

In less than four months, Wood has gone a long way towards proving his worth. It's a remarkable achievement, especially as his campaign has been interrupted by trips to New Zealand (twice), Japan and Peru on All Whites duty.

Plenty of players — including some big names — have endured early droughts in the Premier League and struggled to make an immediate impact, which can pile on the pressure.

Not so with Wood.

Last month, the 26-year-old scored his fifth Premier League goal, a small but significant milestone. Wood took 19 games, including just 10 starts, to grab his first quintet.

Shevchenko, who won the Ballon d'Or in 2004 and scored a ton of goals in Serie A, was brought to Chelsea for a then world record fee of £38 million ($78 million).

He took 36 games to crack the five goal mark, despite being in a talent-stacked team at Stamford Bridge.

Radamel Falcao is another example. The Colombian international cost Manchester United almost £50 million ($96 million) in 2014, but only passed the five goal mark in his 30th match.

Uruguay legend Diego Forlan, who has been bought and sold for more than €40 million ($67 million) during his career, found the going tough in England and took 31 games to reach five goals.

Even Vardy took time to find his feet in the Premier League. He scored just one goal in his first 21 games, and took 34 appearances to reach the five-goal mark. Wood has also topped other big names such as England forwards Andy Carroll (24 games) and Sturridge (22).

It's even more meritorious given Wood is at Burnley. The unfashionable club has enjoyed a tremendous season — built on a near impregnable defence — but Wood doesn't get anywhere near the same number of scoring opportunities as forwards at higher profile clubs.

Being signed for a significant sum can create pressure which other strikers have failed to handle.

Like Wood, Ricky van Wolfswinkel was a club record signing (for Norwich) but his spectacular failure (one goal in 25 games) directly contributed to the Canaries' relegation at the end of the 2013-14 campaign.

Roberto Soldado (seven goals in 52 games for Tottenham) and Jozy Altidore (two goals across 70 matches for Hull and Sunderland) are other reminders of how hard it can be to find the net at this level.

Not to forget Vincent Janssen. Spurs splashed out more than £22 million ($42 million) on the Dutch striker in July 2016, but he has contributed only two goals in 27 games for the London club, despite the propensity of Tottenham to dominate most rivals in recent years.

"The higher up you go, you don't get as many chances," Burnley manager Sean Dyche told the Herald earlier this year.

"When a chance came [Wood's] way [last season], he found a way of putting it away. That's always important for a striker ... finding a way of scoring a goal.

"He did that last season; he's done that throughout his career. He can header, he can strike it from distance or he can poach a goal and that is a tremendous thing for a striker to have."

It's a quality that's helped the Clarets exceed expectations to sit sixth after nine wins, four draws and four defeats.

They are level on 31 points with big guns Liverpool and Tottenham going into this week's match against Brighton, and are a point above Arsenal.