Can Gary Hooper fire himself into the England squad at Norwich City?

Norwich City

Norwich City’s new striker wants to become an England player, has Gary Hooper improved his chances by coming to the Premier League?

If Gary Hooper believes that he was not going to get a chance for England by staying at Celtic, the statistics are certainly on his side, as Norwich City’s new striker scored 82 times in the past three seasons in Scotland without figuring in Roy Hodgson’s plans.

Still just 25, Hooper has every chance of establishing himself at Carrow Road and forcing himself into the England squad, something he believes he now has a better chance of doing.

"I've wanted to play in the Premier League from when I was younger and to get into the England squad," he said. 

“I think there's a good chance of that. My aim is to get fit and hopefully I'll get picked.

"You don't really get a look in up there [Scotland]. Down here I think you've got more chance.”

There is always going to be bias in England selection, with bit part players from big clubs often picked ahead of impressive regulars at the smaller teams, but even so it seems ridiculous that Hooper has not been called up in the past few years.

Concerns about the standard of opposition Hooper faced will have played a part, and it is something that also meant bigger clubs in England did not try and sign him. Hooper will hope to dismiss those fears this season in the Premier League.

One key factor might be whether he can strike up a successful partnership with Ricky Van Wolfswinkel, who also arrived at Carrow Road this summer. Norwich will not be short of firepower this season, and Hooper’s first challenge will be ensuring he starts alongside or even ahead of the Dutch forward.

Succeeding in the Premier League is no guarantee of an England call up though, as Southampton’s Rickie Lambert can testify. However one factor counting against Lambert was his age, and at 25, Hooper will likely be viewed more favourably than the Saints player.

The move to Norwich looks a smart choice for Hooper, and given his record the Canaries also seem to have made an excellent signing. Hooper should have been on the radar of several Premier League teams, and there is every chance he will prove that in the coming season, and make himself impossible for Roy Hodgson to ignore.

image: © pittaya

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