Football: England, Arsenal legend Ian Wright urges Football Ferns to leave mark on World Cup in New Zealand

Arsenal legend and former England striker Ian Wright has urged the Football Ferns to lean on their hometown advantage and leave their mark at next year's World Cup.

With 239 career goals to his name through a famous seven-year tenure for the London heavyweights, Wright is considered one of the greatest English players to ever lace up boots.

New Zealand will co-host the global tournament with Australia, and will face stiff competition to get out of their group, with the draw to take place on Saturday.

But Wright, who is in the country to promote the event, has encouraged the Football Ferns to use the home crowd to their full benefit and potentially shock their more fancied opponents.

"You hope that they can use the momentum of the crowd, passion of the crowd to give them the extra boost that they are going to need because it's going to be tough," Wright said.

"They've got some fantastic teams in here and being a home nation where you're not maybe fancied, to come in and really surprise teams with your endeavor, with your drive, with your passion, that's what it comes down to.

"Unfortunately, when you're hosting it, the pressure is intense leading in, you feel that, so it's for you to get there, and when you play - play with everything you got.

"Try and show people we are doing the best [you can], you may not be the best but we're doing our best to show you guys we're going to try and leave a mark on this World Cup in respect of our country hosting it."

The Football Ferns will play all of their pool matches in New Zealand, with three fixtures in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin.

Should the Kiwis top their group, they will have a clear run of playoff games in New Zealand, with the final to be played at Brisbane.

Wright has called for the Football Ferns to embrace their matches against the higher-ranked teams, and hopes the locals will turn up and cheer them on.

"It's progress, that's what happens - you play against the best and you get better, you see where you need to be, see the levels you need to reach," he said.

"Hopefully the federations will back you, and you start to get the kind of investments and then you can be playing on the biggest stages, against the best teams on a regular basis.

"Absolutely, it's in their country, this is the place. It's football in their country, it's going to be a magnificent tournament - some great teams in it.

"You just hope them and Australia can turn up and do their very best to inspire their nation."