Hooper playing for Celtic in 2010
|Full name||Gary Hooper|
|Date of birth||26 January 1988|
|Place of birth||Harlow, England|
|Height||1.77 m (5 ft 9 1⁄2 in)|
|2007||→ Leyton Orient (loan)||4||(2)|
|2008||→ Hereford United (loan)||19||(11)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 25 April 2015.
† Appearances (Goals).
Hooper started his career at non-League Grays Athletic in 2003. While there he won the 2004–05 Conference South, as well as the FA Trophy twice in 2005 and 2006. After this Championship club Southend United signed him on a free transfer in 2006. He was loaned out twice by the club, on a three-month loan to League One club Leyton Orient in 2007 and a six-month loan to League Two club Hereford United in 2008. Scunthorpe United signed him in 2008, for a fee of £175,000. After two years he was signed by Scottish Premier League side Celtic for £2.4 million. In his first season with the club he was the top scorer and also won the 2011 Scottish Cup.
Hooper has scored in the Premier League, Championship, League One, League Two, FA Cup, League Cup, Football League Trophy, FA Trophy, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, Scottish Cup, Scottish League Cup and the Scottish Premier League, the first and only player to achieve this feat. On top of this, he has also scored in the Conference Premier and the Conference South.
Hooper was born in England but has not represented the national team at any level. In March 2011 it was thought that he may be eligible to represent Scotland. However, this possibility was later closed off. Since his move to Celtic he has been considered for England duty and was called up to the under-21 squad for a friendly but had to pull out due to injury. He was then included in the provisional squad for the 2011 European Under-21 Championship but did not go to the tournament.
Hooper was born in Harlow, Essex and grew up in Loughton. He joined the Tottenham Hotspur youth team at the age of seven. When he was 14 he played 20 minutes of a trial game and was then released by the club. After this he had trials with Northampton Town and Luton Town. These proved unsuccessful and he started playing Sunday league football. He then had a short spell with Maldon Town, before he was signed by Conference National side Grays Athletic at the start of the 2003–04 season.
His debut was the following season when Grays were promoted into the newly formed Conference South, helping them to win the league by scoring 12 goals in 29 league appearances. He started for Grays in the 2004–05 FA Trophy Final against Hucknall Town, but was substituted towards the end of extra-time. The match went to penalties and Grays won the shoot-out 6–5.
The following season in the Conference National, Hooper scored eight times in 40 league appearances. He was an unused substitute in Grays Athletic's 2–0 triumph over Woking in the final of the 2006 FA Trophy. At the end of the 2006 season he was released by Grays. Hooper said that he was only getting substitute appearances for the last few minutes of games and that he wanted to move.
In July 2006, after his release by Grays, Hooper went on two trials. Firstly to League Two side Barnet, then to Championship club Southend United, where he was given a one-year contract by manager Steve Tilson the following month. On 24 October, Hooper scored twice in a 3–1 League Cup win over Leeds United. He went on to make 18 appearances for Southend in the Championship, although only two were starts. On 15 March, Hooper joined League One side Leyton Orient on loan for the rest of the season. Tilson said that this loan would allow him to assess whether Hooper merited a new contract and would give the young striker experience. Hooper was recalled from loan on 1 May before, already relegated, Southend's last match of the season. A number of players were out injured for the match and, five days after his recall, Hooper started in the 4–1 defeat to Southampton.
Hooper made 18 appearances in League One for Southend during the first half of the 2007–08 season, scoring twice. On 28 January 2008, Hooper signed a new 18-month contract to extend his stay with the club. He then moved on loan to League Two club Hereford United.
At the start of the 2008–09 season. Hooper, along with three other strikers, was listed for transfer as Tilson looked to re-build his attack. Hereford had a bid accepted for Hooper after his successful loan spell, but could not afford to match the larger transfer fees offered by other teams. Several other League One sides were interested in him. Cheltenham Town had a bid accepted but Hooper eventually decided to move to Scunthorpe United. He scored just four goals in 44 appearances during his time at Southend. Although he did have two successful loan spells.
Leyton Orient (loan)
On 15 March 2007, Hooper moved on loan to League One club Leyton Orient. Two days after joining the club he scored in a 2–2 draw with Oldham Athletic after coming on as a substitute. A week later, he scored against League One leaders Scunthorpe United in another 2–2 draw. Hooper made two more appearances for Orient, before being recalled to Southend on 1 May, when the club activated a 24-hour return clause in his contract. Orient manager Martin Ling said that he thought Hooper had done well during his loan spell with the club and that he would monitor the progress of the young striker.
Hereford United (loan)
On 28 January 2008, Hooper signed a one-month loan deal with League Two side Hereford United. He made his debut two days after signing for them, starting in a 2–1 loss to Barnet. He scored in his next game for the club, a 1–0 win over Rotherham United. He played five more times, scoring four goals, before his loan deal was due to expire on 28 February. However, manager Graham Turner agreed a deal to keep him until the end of the season. Southend manager Steve Tilson agreed to this despite having two strikers out injured at the time. Hooper's 11 goals in 19 appearances for Hereford helped them finish third in League Two and secure promotion.
On 14 July 2008, Scunthorpe United signed Hooper for a fee of £125,000, rising to £175,000. Hooper signed a three-year contract with the League One club. In the first game of Scunthorpe's league campaign, Hooper scored in a 2–1 defeat at Glanford Park against Leeds United. He scored his first ever hat-trick against, Brighton, on 6 September and netted seven goals in his first seven games to help Scunthorpe's promotion push. After this teammate Izzy Iriekpen paid tribute to Hooper saying that "As soon as he started training you could see there was something special there." On 28 October, league leaders, Scunthorpe suffered their first defeat in 12 games as they lost 3–0 to Oldham Athletic. Hooper came off with an injury in this match and it was feared he had broken his foot and may have been out for up to six months. However, scans later revealed that his foot was just badly bruised. He was labelled in the media as the latest from Scunthorpe's "production line for talented young forwards." He scored both goals in a win over promotion rivals Millwall on 31 January 2009. Scunthorpe reached the final of the Football League Trophy and faced League Two Luton Town. Hooper scored the opener but Luton pulled it back to win the match 3–2 in extra-time. At the end of the season Hooper won Scunthorpe's Player of the Year award. He said he was delighted with the team's performance during the season, in which he scored 24 league goals to help Scunthorpe gain promotion. He then set himself a target of 15 Championship goals for the next season. He scored 30 goals in all competitions throughout the 2008–09 season, just three goals short of Billy Sharp's record 33 goals in a season for Scunthorpe.
At the start of the 2009–10 season, Queens Park Rangers had a £1 million rejected for Hooper. Coventry City were also rumoured to be interested in the striker. On 15 August, Hooper scored twice in a 3–2 win over Derby County. Scunthorpe manager Nigel Adkins said that he thought Hooper was a "massive threat" to the opposition and that he was worried that other teams would try to sign him before the end of the transfer window. On 22 February, captain Cliff Byrne, described Hooper as the kind of striker who could "create something out of nothing". He also stated that he hoped Hooper would stay at the club but if he did leave it would be for a lot of money. This was just after Hooper had scored in a 2–2 draw with Watford, taking his seasonal tally to 13. He scored a hat-trick against Bristol City on his return from a groin injury on 17 April 2010, and added a further two goals at Doncaster Rovers a week later. He scored 20 goals in 39 appearances in all competitions in the 2009–10 season, including 19 in 35 in the league, where he finished as third-top goal scorer behind Peter Whittingham and Nicky Maynard who both scored 20.
In 2012, Scunthorpe United fans voted Hooper as the club's best ever player.
On 26 July 2010, Scottish Premier League club Celtic signed Hooper for £2.4 million. The move has provided him with great experience, despite his young age of 22 when joining and has kept him grounded. On 4 August 2010, Hooper scored on his debut for the club, against Portuguese Primeira Liga club Braga in the Champions League third qualifying round. Hooper tore his calf muscle in a friendly against Blackburn Rovers just four days later on 8 August, keeping him out of action for almost six weeks.
On 22 September 2010, Hooper made his return from injury in the League Cup, scoring in a 6–0 victory over Inverness Caledonian Thistle. On 25 September 2010, Hooper made his Scottish Premier League debut in a 2–1 victory over Hibernian at Celtic Park. Hooper scored his Scottish Premier League goal on 2 October, in a 3–1 win over Hamilton Academical. and then scored a double against Dundee United at Tannadice on 17 October. One week later, he scored the opening goal in a 3–1 defeat to Rangers at Celtic Park. On 6 November, Hooper and strike partner Anthony Stokes each scored hat-tricks in a league record 9–0 win over Aberdeen. The following week, he scored the winner against St. Mirren.
After recovering from an injury that kept him out of action during the Christmas period, Hooper returned to the team against Hibernian on 15 January 2011 and scored the opening goal in a 3–0 win. On 1 February, Hooper scored the first goal in a 3–0 win against Aberdeen. He netted twice in Celtic's 3–0 victory over Rangers on 20 February. He grabbed another brace on 6 April 2011, in a 3–1 victory over Hibernian. Two weeks later, Hooper had a man of the match performance against Kilmarnock, scoring a goal and setting up another three in a 4–0 SPL victory. On 1 May 2011, Hooper scored in a 4–1 victory over Dundee United. He then scored a brace against Hearts, and the opener in a 4–0 win over Motherwell, in the final Scottish Premier League match of the season. Hooper was nominated for the PFA Player of the Year award, but lost out to teammate Emilio Izaguirre and was also picked in the PFA Scotland Team of the Year. Hooper won his first medal for Celtic in the Scottish Cup after a 3–0 win over Motherwell in the final on 21 May 2011. During the 2010–11 season, Hooper had the best strike rate of any player in Britain, scoring 20 goals in 26 games with a strike rate of 0.77 goals per game. This was also the fourth best strike rate in Europe, behind Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Antonio Di Natale.
On 24 July 2011, Hooper had a penalty saved by Graham Stack in Celtic's first match of the 2011–12 season, a 2–0 win over Hibs. On 13 August, he scored his first goal of the season in a 5–1 win over Dundee United. He also picked up an ankle injury which ruled him out for the next two matches. On 25 August he made his return in Celtic's 3–1 loss to FC Sion. Three days later, he scored both goals in a 2–0 win over St. Mirren. English Premier League clubs Queens Park Rangers and Wolverhampton Wanderers expressed interest in signing Hooper on transfer deadline day of summer 2011, however Celtic rejected their enquiries about his availability. Hooper's regular strike partner Anthony Stokes said "He's a top, top player. I have no doubt one day he could play at the very top level but we want to keep him here as long as possible."
Hooper scored in Celtic's 4–2 loss to rivals Rangers on 18 September 2011. This was his fourth goal in seven Old Firm matches. He then started Celtic's first Scottish League Cup game of the season against Ross County, scoring one goal in a 2–0 win for Celtic. On 29 September he played in Celtic's 1–1 draw with Italian side Udinese. After three minutes he won a penalty which Ki Sung-Yueng scored. He then gave away a penalty, which was converted, after 83 minutes when he fouled Neuton. A month later, he scored in Celtic's 4–1, League Cup quarter-final, victory over Hibernian. On 3 November, Hooper scored his first European goal of the season, netting the final goal of Celtic's 3–1 Europa League group stage win against Rennes, after coming on as a 78th minute substitute for James Forrest. Three days later, he again came on as a substitute and scored the winner in a 2–1 win over Motherwell. On 26 November, he scored a hat-trick in a 5–0 win over St. Mirren. After scoring five goals in November, he won the SPL Player of the Month award. On 15 December, Hooper scored in Celtic's final Europa League group game, a 1–1 draw against Udinese which meant Celtic finished third in the group and didn't qualify for the knock-out stages. During the January transfer window English Championship league leaders Southampton made several bids for Hooper. However, they were rejected by Celtic and Hooper reiterated his desire to stay with the club. On 14 January, Hooper scored in a 2–1 win over Dundee United. He then scored in Celtic's 4–0 win against Hearts on 8 February. On 29 April 2012, Hooper scored the final goal as Celtic beat Rangers 3–0 at Celtic Park. This was his fifth goal in 10 appearances against Rangers. On 13 May, Hooper scored all five goals for Celtic as they beat Hearts 5–0 in the final SPL match of the season.
After Southampton had won promotion to the Premier League there was speculation linking them with a £7m for Hooper at the start of the 2012–13 season. However, Hooper stated that he was happy at Celtic and was looking forward to playing Champions League football. On 1 August 2012, Hooper started the season in scoring form, in Celtic's 2–1 victory against HJK Helsinki in the first leg of the Champions League Third Qualifying Round. On 25 September 2012, Hooper scored all 4 goals in Celtic's Scottish League Cup tie against Raith Rovers at Celtic Park, the match finished 4–1. On 29 September 2012, Hooper scored the first goal in a 2–0 victory over Motherwell at Fir Park, this resulted in Celtic going to first spot in the Scottish Premier League. Hooper scored his seventh goal in four matches, against Spartak Moscow in the UEFA Champions League; Celtic won the match 3–2 at Spartak Stadium (Moscow), recording their first ever away victory in the UEFA Champions League proper. During January 2013, Hooper scored braces against Hearts and Dundee United in high scoring wins at home for Celtic, and also scored the only goal in a 1-0 away win at Motherwell. That run of goalscoring saw him win the SPL Player of the Month Award. Celtic clinched their second successive Scottish Premier League title on 21 April 2013 with a 4–1 win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle at Parkhead. Hooper scored twice in the game. On 26 May 2013, Hooper scored twice for Celtic in their 3–0 win over Hibernian in the Scottish Cup Final.
On 26 July 2013, Hooper signed a three-year contract with English Premier League club Norwich City for an undisclosed fee believed to be £5m with Norwich having the option of a further year to Hooper's contract. Hooper made his competitive début for Norwich on 21 September 2013 in a Premier League 1–0 home loss to Aston Villa as a 63rd minute substitute. In his first start for the club, Hooper scored a brace to secure a 3–2 victory over Watford in the third round of the League Cup on 24 September.
On 9 November 2013, Hooper scored his first Premier League goal from the penalty spot against West Ham United at Carrow Road to level the scores at 1–1. Norwich City won the game 3–1, with Hooper being voted as Man of the Match. Due to this goal, he became the first player to score in the top 4 divisions of the English league, the top division of the Scottish League and two cup competitions in each country, as well as the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League. Hooper scored his second Premier League goal and fourth goal in all competitions in just his seventh start for Norwich City, on 30 November 2013 against Crystal Palace, which Norwich City won 1–0 for a vital 3 points. On 7 December, Hooper scored his fifth Norwich City goal and third Premier League goal against West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns, a first time angled shot across goalkeeper Boaz Myhill into the corner after a through ball from Leroy Fer, the match ended in a 0–2 Norwich City victory. On 15 December, Hooper scored in consecutive Premier League matches, the one-time Scunthorpe United frontman took one touch on his chest after a Johan Elmander lay off, before hitting a superb volley 30 yards out over Michel Vorm and into the roof of the net, levelling the score at 1–1. Hooper would score again on the Boxing Day fixture against Fulham as his shot deflected off of Aaron Hughes and past goalkeeper David Stockdale, thus making Hooper the first ever Norwich City player to score in four successive Premier League matches at Carrow Road.
Hooper finished his first season at Norwich as the club's top scorer with eight goals, but was unable to prevent his side's relegation from the Premier League down into the Championship. A calf injury then saw Hooper miss the first couple of months of the following season. After returning to the side in October, he finally scored his first goal of the season on 22 November 2014 in a 3–3 draw at home against Brighton. The goals then began to flow for Hooper; the striker scoring twice in a 6–1 win over Millwall on Boxing Day where he was described as "outstanding" by manager Neil Adams, then after being dropped from the side he returned to score a hat trick on 7 February 2015 in a 4–0 win over Blackpool, taking his total for the season to date up to nine goals.
Hooper has not represented England at any level. His paternal grandfather William Hooper was raised in the Scottish Borders, and this led to hopes that Hooper could be eligible to play for Scotland. Then Scotland head coach Craig Levein sought clarification as to the place of birth his grandfather's birth certificate recorded, as he had been born in a hospital in the English border town Berwick-upon-Tweed. The possibility was closed off when it was confirmed that his grandfather was included in the English Births Index. On 13 March 2011, Hooper was included by Stuart Pearce in his 31-man squad for the England under-21 team to play Denmark and Iceland. However, Hooper was forced to pull out of the squad due to injury. On 3 May 2011, he was named in the 40-man provisional squad for the UEFA Under-21 Championship, but did not make the final selection.
In February 2012, BBC Sport reported that the Football Association of Wales were investigating his eligibility, but Hooper was unaware of having any Welsh ancestry. Hooper declared his desire to play for Great Britain at the 2012 Summer Olympics, but was not selected.
In November 2012, Hooper was set to join team mate Fraser Forster in the England squad for their upcoming friendly against Sweden in Stockholm, after it was revealed The Football Association had contacted Celtic about the fitness of Hooper. Unfortunately, they were handed a bleak prognosis by the Celtic's medical team, meaning Hooper couldn't make the squad through injury.
- As of 25 April 2015
|Club||Season||League||National Cup||League Cup||Europe||Other||Total|
|Grays Athletic||2004–05||Conference South||29||12||0||0||—||—||13[a]||5||42||17|
|Leyton Orient (loan)||2006–07||League One||4||2||0||0||0||0||—||0||0||4||2|
|Hereford United (loan)||2007–08||League Two||19||11||0||0||0||0||—||0||0||19||11|
|Scunthorpe United||2008–09||League One||45||24||3||4||1||0||—||7[d]||2||56||30|
|Norwich City||2013–14||Premier League||32||6||0||0||2||2||—||—||34||8|
- Nine appearances and four goals in FA Trophy, four appearances and one goal in Conference League Cup
- Five appearances in FA Trophy, three appearances and four goals in Essex Senior Cup, one in Conference National play-offs
- Appearance in Football League Trophy
- Five appearances and two goals in Football League Trophy, two in Football League One play-offs
- Appearance(s) in UEFA Champions League
- Appearances in UEFA Europa League
Style of play
Hooper has all the main attributes to play as a striker, he is strong and can hold up the ball well. He is also a good finisher, he has been described as being a 'penalty box striker'. However, he can also pass the ball well and this allows midfielders to play-off him. He has received praise since moving to Scotland. Newspaper The Daily Record described him as being one of the most skilled attackers in the SPL. They also said that he had shown that he could deal with the physical nature of the Scottish game, due to his ability to ride a challenge well. He is able to play the game at a very high tempo and has a very good first touch.
One criticism that Steve Claridge had when analysing Hooper's game was that "[he often] played at either breakneck speed when involved in play or at walking pace when not", Claridge noted that Hooper needed to work harder to make himself available to his teammates for passes, especially long balls out from defence.
While at Celtic, Hooper struck up an excellent partnership with fellow striker Anthony Stokes. They scored over 40 goals between them in their first season together and were considered to be Celtic's best strike partnership, although on many occasions, especially for big matches, Georgios Samaras was often used alongside Hooper. Hooper expressed his disappointment at this because he felt that he worked very well with Stokes. In their partnership Hooper usually had a more advanced role, playing off the shoulder of the last defender, or in the box, and making runs in behind. His strength, pace, finishing ability and awareness made him suitably adapted to this role. Stokes usually played a deeper role, coming short to get the ball and creating space through his dribbling skill and passing. Although Hooper is more suited to an advanced role, and Stokes to a deeper one, they were capable of switching and both have the skills required to play in either role. This made it very hard for defenders to mark them.
- Grays Athletic
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- Celtic Top Goalscorer (3): 2010–11, 2011–12, 2012–13
- Scunthorpe United Greatest Ever Player (1): 2012
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- Scottish Premier League Player of the Month (2): November 2011, January 2013
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