TODAY |

Chris Wood returns to Olympics in new role and mindset with OlyWhites

Chris Wood may be among the top earning New Zealand athletes at the Olympics, but he wasn't about to enjoy a well-earned holiday after Burnley's hectic Premier League campaign.

"I went away to a training camp in Portugal, which was nice," he told 1 NEWS.

"There was a football pitch and a campus with a gym so I could work out and keep on top of my stuff ready for [the Olympics], because this is extremely important, both for myself and for the team."

Training in the in off-season has become the norm for top footballers.

"There is no down time anymore," Wood said.

"Gone are the days where you could go and get pissed, eat what you like for five or six weeks - you have to be training throughout."

Not that he'd have it any other way.

An Olympian at the London Games nine years ago, Wood returns with the OlyWhites as one of three over-aged players.

Then a rookie at West Brom, he's now a seasoned Premier League goalscorer stepping into the shoes of Ryan Nelsen as the side's leading light.

"Yeah it's a different role, I don't just have to focus on my game like I did in 2012, but that comes with being experienced and being an older player. You know how to do both."

If the experience has taught him anything, it's that these chances don't come around very often.

"Enjoy it, make the most of it, because you never know it could be the one and only time you're here.

"So let's go and do something."