Gary Hooper targeting goals to force England World Cup call-up after Norwich move
Striker acknowledges that he must find the back of the net if he is to be considered for Roy Hodgson's squad next summer
Monday 29 July 2013
New Norwich striker Gary Hooper is hoping his switch from Celtic will enhance his chances of earning a call-up to the England squad for next summer’s World Cup.
The 25-year-old signed last week in a deal believed to be worth around £5m, and he met up with the rest of the squad yesterday after they returned from their pre-season trip to the United States.
Norwich were interested in signing Hooper throughout last season, and the prospect of playing regularly in the Barclays Premier League was enough to persuade Hooper to join the Canaries, despite the allure of Champions League football at Parkhead.
He signed a three-year-deal, which Norwich can extend for an extra year should they wish to, and his aim with the club is a simple one.
"(To) score goals," Hooper said.
"That's what I get paid for, that's what the gaffer got me in for and that's the challenge: to play and score goals.
"I wanted to play in the Premiership and to try to get an England call-up. I think there's a good chance of that."
Hooper believed that his chances of gaining recognition north of the border were limited, even though he was close to a call-up earlier this year, though he was later ruled out of contention through injury.
"You don't really get a look in up there," Hooper explained.
"Down here you've got more chance. The main thing is playing, getting on the pitch first, and doing what I do.
"To play for your country is anyone's dream, but my first dream is to play in the Premiership."
Hooper’s new manager Chris Hughton was in agreement with his latest acquisition, believing that any international recognition will come from success at domestic level.
"He's got to play well enough for Norwich City Football Club and score goals and prove that he can do it in this very, very difficult league," Hughton said.
"That's the reason why he's here and that's the wonderful challenge that he has."
Hooper could have made the move earlier when he was subject of a bid from Norwich in January, but he decided to remain with Celtic to be part of their Champions League campaign – eventually going out to Juventus 5-0 on aggregate.
Hooper added: "I had the Champions League and Celtic wanted to keep me. It was a tough decision, but I'm here now and I'm happy."
Queens Park Rangers also had a bid accepted for his services, but Hooper chose to head to East Anglia rather than the capital.
"I was close, but I wanted to come here and play in the Premiership," Hooper added.
"I've never played in the Premiership. I've played in every league, scored in every league and the next challenge is the Premiership."
Hooper joins the club alongside Ricky van Wolfswinkel, with team talisman Grant Holt departing Norwich leaving a rather large gap in up-front – something that Hughton wants the two to address together.
He said: "It's not just about scoring goals. This is a very tough division.
"What they first have to be is a good team player. What he has got on his CV is that he's used to scoring goals.
"It's for us to make sure we have the right combinations to give him the opportunity to score goals."
Norwich have also signed Dutch midfielder Leroy Fer from FC Twente, Birmingham wing Nathan Redmond, left-backs Javier Garrido and Martin Olsson plus the goalkeeper Carlo Nash.
Hughton is still looking, but is happy to have made signings early in the transfer window.
"We're delighted at this stage to have brought in what we have," Hughton said.
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