Football: Chris Wood out of All Whites squad, Wellington Phoenix captain Alex Rufer called in

Alex Rufer warms up before a game.
Alex Rufer warms up before a game. Photo credit: Getty Images

The All Whites will be without their all-time leading goal scorer for their upcoming internationals in Cairo after striker Chris Wood was ruled out of the squad with an injury.  

Wellington Phoenix captain Alex Rufer has been called up.  

New Zealand Football confirmed on Tuesday morning Wood, along with Norway-based midfielder Joe Bell and Phoenix defender Tim Payne, have all withdrawn from the squad.   

Wood was taken off in the final quarter of Nottingham Forest's 1-1 draw with Luton Town, in which Wood had scored his side's only goal and his ninth of the English Premier League season.  

Forest's manager Nuno Espirito Santa told media post-match Wood "felt something'' during the game. Wood, 32, was only playing his second game since a layoff with a hamstring injury. 

Chris Wood gesturing during a Premier League match.
Chris Wood gesturing during a Premier League match. Photo credit: Getty Images

Rufer was a notable omission from the original 24-man New Zealand squad for their matches against Egypt and Croatia or Tunisia.  

The combative midfielder has officially been named a replacement for teammate Payne, who suffered a hamstring injury in the first half of the 2-1 win against Sydney FC on Saturday.  

Rufer has arguably been in career-best form this season, starting 20 of Wellington's A-League matches and missing just two games due to suspension and injury. Rufer also scored three goals in successive matches against Perth Glory, Melbourne Victory and Newcastle Jets in January.  

He last played for the All Whites in March last year, getting through 90 minutes in a scoreless draw against China.  

Rufer will join Wellington clubmates Kosta Barbarouses, Ben Old, Finn Surman, Alex Paulsen and Lukas Kelly-Heald in Cairo ahead of New Zealand's match against Egypt.